Pay to Stay? How Whose Name Is on the Lease or Mortgage Affects Household Allocation of Resources

Catherine T. Kenney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Previous research suggests that low-income unmarried mothers are able to use their control over their residence (being the sole lease-holder) to require contributions toward the household from their cohabiting partners by enforcing a "pay and stay" rule (Edin, 2000). This paper uses data from three waves of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to explore how having the mother's name only (as opposed to her partner's name only or both names) on the lease or mortgage is related to the allocation of and control over resources in non-marital households with young children. The "pay and stay rule" suggests that leaseholding increases mothers' bargaining power and therefore should increase fathers' contributions. This paper attempts to disentangle the possible positive effects of mothers' leaseholding on fathers' contributions from the selection effects (into and out of relationships) likely to influence whose name is on the lease and how much fathers contribute.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Union Formation and Dissolution and Parents' Living Arrangements