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The Law and Economics of Child Support Payments

Edited by William S. Comanor, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Director, Research Program on Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy, Fielding School of Public Health, University of California at Los Angeles and Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara, US
To understand the issues involved, leading lawyers and economists examine various facets of the child support system from a law and economics perspective. They consider the incentives faced by both custodial and non-custodial parents, and search for policy actions that are more incentive-compatible for all participants. The assumptions underlying current child support guidelines are discussed, as are the ways in which child support payments affect family structure, teenage delinquency and income disparities between parents.
Extent: 320 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2004
ISBN: 978 1 84376 121 1
Availability: In Stock
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The delinquent payment of child support by non-custodial to custodial parents is a major problem throughout the United States. To many observers, the problem is one of ‘deadbeat dads’ – men who simply will not make the required payments. The solution has been to enforce payment by the imposition of increasingly stringent civil and criminal penalties. Despite these efforts, the percentage of single mothers receiving child support has changed very little over the past twenty-five years. The Law and Economics of Child Support Payments investigates why this is, and approaches the payment of child support as an economic problem.

To understand the issues involved, leading lawyers and economists examine various facets of the child support system from a law and economics perspective. They consider the incentives faced by both custodial and non-custodial parents, and search for policy actions that are more incentive-compatible for all participants. The assumptions underlying current child support guidelines are discussed, as are the ways in which child support payments affect family structure, teenage delinquency and income disparities between parents.

This comprehensive, provocative volume will be of considerable interest to policymakers, lawyers and parent advocacy groups, as well as to students of this timely issue.
‘Bill Comanor has published a fascinating collection of 10 essays on child support payment in the US.’
– European Journal of Law and Economics

‘. . . the book raises interesting and important questions that need to be dealt with.’
– Barbara R. Bergmann, Feminist Economics

‘This urgently needed, groundbreaking book provides solid data that coincides with the real life stories I have been hearing for years from men and women nationwide regarding unfair child support laws and policies that have resulted in adverse effects on their children and families. I anticipate that this book will have a major positive impact on social policy and the general collective attitudes toward families in today’s society. The information presented in this book must be read and understood by every policymaker to insure that child support policies are made just and fair so that all families can prosper.’
– Dianna Thompson, National Family Justice Association, US
Contributors: H. Antecol, K. Bedard, D.J. Bieniewicz, S.L. Braver, W.S. Comanor, I.M. Ellman, R.K. Henry, C.A. McNeely, R.A. McNeely, G.P. Miller, L. Phillips, R.M. Rogers, D. Stockburger, R.J. Willis
Contents: Preface 1. Child Support Payments: A Review of Current Policies 2. Child Support and the Problem of Economic Incentives 3. Child Support Guidelines: Underlying Methodologies, Assumptions, and the Impact on Standards of Living 4. Child Support Guidelines and Equal Living Standards 5. Child Support Policy and the Unintended Consequences of Good Intentions 6. Hopelessly Defective: An Examination of the Assumptions Underlying Current Child Support Guidelines 7. Should Visitation Denial Affect the Obligation to Pay Support? 8. Parental Bonding and the Design of Child Support Obligations 9. Teenage Delinquency: The Role of Child Support Payments and Father’s Visitation 10. Family Structure and Child Support: What Matters for Youth Delinquency Rates? Index