Studies have shown that a growing number of divorced women were experiencing debt repayment problems during the 1980s. This study uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to (1) examine how debt repayment problems differ by marital status and gender and (2) investigate the role that supplemental income payments play in helping to mitigate repayment problems. The results show that divorced men and women are more likely to default on their debt obligations than married households. Further analysis reveals that increases in welfare payments significantly decrease the likelihood of default for divorced women but do not affect the probability of default for divorced men and married households. There is no evidence that payments related to child support and alimony affect default rates. The findings suggest that welfare benefits may help to mitigate the economic consequences of divorce for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)324-346
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Consumer Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science


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