Man out of the house

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The man out of the house rule denies welfare benefits to families headed by a heterosexual couple, on the grounds that an able-bodied man ought to support his wife and children.

A New York Times article said that "policy makers disagreed in the past about whether old-style welfare was encouraging out-of-wedlock births."[1] A scholarly study (1994-1995) by Robert A. Moffitt, Robert Reville, Anne E. Winkler examined "the question of whether the AFDC program does indeed discourage marriage and encourage female headship, as it is commonly perceived to do". [1]

Critics of the rule asserted that it had the effect of breaking up marriages and promoting matriarchy (see also single-parent family).

... the AFDC program tended to treat households with a cohabiting male who was not the natural father of the children much more leniently than those with a resident spouse or father of the children. This feature created a clear disincentive for marriage and also a clear incentive for divorce, because women who married face the reduction or loss of their AFDC benefits.[2]

~ {{{2}}}

Charles Murray blamed AFDC rules for family deterioration. [2]

Stacy Dickert-Conlin wrote,

  • For families with children, the level of benefits available to single parent families is usually greater than the level of benefits available to married couples, suggesting that the transfer system discourages marriage or encourages separation. [3]


  1. Strict Limits on Welfare Benefits Discourage Marriage, Studies Say - Nina Bernstein - June 3, 2002
  2. Marriage and the economy: theory and evidence from advanced industrial societies - Shoshana Grossbard-Shechtman, Professor of Economics at San Diego State University

External links

See also

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