WI22-Q3: Implications of Child Incarceration for Maternal Wealth and Labor Force Attachment



More than 1 in 5 American women aged 50 or older has ever had a child incarcerated (Enns et al. 2019). Mothers play a critical role in supporting adult children both during and after incarceration (Harding et al. 2019; Western 2018), but the consequences of providing this support for mothers’ economic wellbeing are unknown. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 and the NLSY79 Child and Young Adult study, we find that child incarceration is associated with significant declines in maternal wealth and labor supply. These detrimental impacts are likely to contribute to gender inequality in Social Security benefit amount and increase women’s dependence on Supplemental Security Income in old age.


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WI22-Q3: “Implications of Child Incarceration for Racial Disparities in Women’s Wealth and Labor Force Attachment

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