Do State Child Support Enforcement Programs Reduce Gender Disparity in Retirement Wealth?

Yunhee Chang, University of Mississippi

Women retire with less money than men do. Among determinants of retirement wealth distributed unequally between genders, disparate financial consequences of divorce and single parenthood are important causes of gender disparity in retirement wealth. Pervasive nonpayment or underpayment of child support may be to blame. This study investigates whether state child support enforcement (CSE) programs reduce gender disparity in retirement wealth. Literature suggests that tougher CSE can reduce poverty and welfare dependency, while it increases employment among women. While evidence of the negative effect on male employment is lacking, tougher CSE lowers disposable incomes of men. This study uses data from PSID to estimate how and whether state CSE policies influence gender disparity in retirement wealth. A regression-based residuals approach is used to proxy the rigor of CSE.

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Presented in Session 58: The Impact of Life-Changing Events on Retirement Well-Being