Living Arrangements, Employment Status, and the Economic Well-Being of Mothers: Evidence from Brazil, Chile, and the U.S


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Abstract

Using data from Brazil, Chile, and the U.S., we estimate country specific models of household income that characterize mothers according to their marital status, living arrangement, and employment status. We assess the predicted economic well-being of each type of mother relative to a benchmark of married mothers in the same country, and at various points in the income distribution. We find dramatic cross-country differences in the distribution of mothers across categories, but few differences in each type's relative economic status. In all three countries and at all points in the income distribution, mothers who are the only adults in their households have the lowest levels of predicted income, while married mothers—followed closely by cohabitors—have the highest levels.

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