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Lone mothers, ethnicity and welfare dynamics

Mokhtar, Christina and Platt, Lucinda (2010) Lone mothers, ethnicity and welfare dynamics. Journal of Social Policy, 39 (01). pp. 95-118. ISSN 0047-2794

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0047279409990031


This article investigates the ethnic patterning of exit from means-tested benefits in a UK town. Lone parents in the UK face high risks of poverty and high rates of receipt of means-tested, out-of-work benefits. There has been extensive policy concern with lone parents' poverty and with potential ‘welfare dependency’. Investigation of welfare dynamics has unpacked the notion of welfare dependency, and has stimulated policy to better understand the factors associated with longer rather than shorter durations. However, within this analysis, there has been little attention paid to ethnicity. This is despite the fact that the extensive literature on the UK's minority ethnic groups has emphasised diversity in both rates of lone parenthood and risks of poverty. To date we have little understanding of ethnic variation in lone parents' welfare dynamics. Using a data set drawn from administrative records, this article analyses the chances of leaving means-tested benefit for a set of lone mothers in a single town, exploring whether there is variation by ethnic group. We find that, controlling for basic demographic characteristics, there is little evidence to suggest that ethnicity affects the chances of benefit exit, even between groups where rates of lone parenthood are very different.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2009 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies > H53 - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I38 - Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 12:53
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2021 02:08

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