Expectations of Support: Health Investments and Promises of Financial Assistance for Children

Erin K. Fletcher, Gettysburg College

This paper shows how verbal promises of financial assistance for a child made at birth affect post-natal investments in health–including whether the child was on time for his last scheduled doctor’s visit and breastfeeding–controlling for prenatal health access and father characteristics. While OLS results on the full sample exhibit no relationship between expected child support and investments, separation by race in OLS shows different ef- fects for black and white women. Propensity score matching shows a smaller effect for both late doctor’s visits and breastfeeding results, but is only significant for breastfeed- ing, particularly for white mothers. Propensity score matching fails to find an effect on late doctor’s visits, even when separated by race. The results indicate the importance of race and class in identifying an effect and suggests that the question of a promise of support may be interpreted differently in different cultural contexts.

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Presented in Session 96: Child Health