Panel: Social and Economic Policy Contexts and Fathers’ Involvement with Children
(Family and Child Policy)

Thursday, November 2, 2017: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Stetson BC (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Lenna Nepomnyaschy, Rutgers University
Panel Chairs:  Kasim Ortiz, University of New Mexico
Discussants:  H. Elizabeth Peters, Urban Institute and Robert Plotnick, University of Washington

Paternity Leave and Father’s Parenting: Differences Between Resident and Non-Resident Fathers
Natasha Pilkauskas, University of Michigan and Will Schneider, Columbia University

Nonstandard Work Schedules and Father Involvement Among Nonresident and Resident Fathers
Alejandra Ros Pilarz1, Laura Cuesta2 and Yonah N Drazen1, (1)University of Wisconsin - Madison, (2)Rutgers University

The Minimum Wage and Fathers’ Residence with Children
Daniel Miller1, Lenna Nepomnyaschy2, Maureen R. Waller3, Allison Dwyer Emory3 and Alexandra Gensemer2, (1)Boston University, (2)Rutgers University, (3)Cornell University

The Growth in Shared Custody: Patterns and Implications
Daniel R. Meyer, Maria Cancian and Steven Cook, University of Wisconsin - Madison

The papers in this panel examine the importance of social and economic policy contexts for fathers’ ability to reside and be involved with their biological children. All four papers focus on policy contexts that have important potential implications for family processes and child well-being and that are incredibly timely, with regards to the current political climate and recent policy changes and proposals.


One paper uses over 30 years of administrative data from Wisconsin to examine changes in shared child custody arrangements after divorce. They find that shared custody has now replaced sole-mother custody as the most common post-divorce parenting arrangement. They next explore the degree to which this change is associated with changes in policy or changes in characteristics of families over time.


Two papers take advantage of fathers’ interviews in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine the associations of fathers’ paternity leave-taking (1st paper) and fathers’ nonstandard work schedules (2nd paper) with their involvement with children. Both papers explore whether these associations differ for resident and nonresident fathers, a key distinction since nonresident fathers have unique barriers to spending time with their children. They find substantial differences by fathers’ residence status that have important implications for child well-being.


A fourth paper uses 14 years of data from the March Current Population Survey linked to state by year minimum wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to examine whether the variation in the minimum wage is associated with low-income fathers’ residence with children, a fundamental indicator of father involvement. They make innovative use of these data, by imputing earnings for nonresident fathers (who are rarely identified in national household surveys) based on a sample of observed low-income men of childbearing age in the CPS.


These papers make innovative use of existing datasets, improve our ability to measure behaviors by using multiple reporters, and take advantage of numerous waves of panel and cross-sectional data to enhance our understanding of the determinants of fathers’ involvement with children across different types of family constellations. Results will provide important knowledge of how key social and economic policy contexts, related to child custody, nonstandard work schedules, paternity leave, and minimum wages, affect fathers’ residence and involvement with children.


We hope to engage the audience in a rich discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of these analyses, as well as the implications of these findings for families’ economic circumstances and children’s well-being, as well as for policy discussions in the current political climate.


The participants on this panel represent the diversity and richness of experiences and backgrounds of the APPAM membership. The participants include students, post-doctoral fellows, junior faculty, and senior faculty from private and public universities, as well as researchers from both academic and non-academic institutions. Participants represent a diverse range of disciplines, including Sociology, Public Policy, Social Work, and Economics. Finally, participants represent all corners of the US, including the East coast (MA, NY, NJ, DC), Midwest (WI), and the West (WA, NM).

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