Working Paper, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University of Linz 0818
The institution of marriage has served to funnel economic resources from fathers to children. Its continued decline in the countries of the developed world threatens the adequacy of the economic support of human reproduction, now increasingly provided by women. Its decline is also probably implicated in the low birth rates now being registered. The rise of cohabitation has not prevented a rise in the proportion of lone parents, and their numbers are growing rapidly. The children of lone parents are relatively deprived, both in terms of income and adults time for child care and housekeeping. Government-supported programs in the United States aimed at rescuing marriage have not been proven effective. Ways need to be explored to get a return of mens economic support for reproduction. But the most likely way of repairing at least some of the damage to children is a big increase in government provision to the entire population of goods and services that children need: health care, high-quality education, child care, decent housing, university education. This will require in most countries a big rise in taxes and government expenditure.