Child support, welfare, labor regulation, social control theory, parental responsibility, social constructions, noncustodial fathers, family discourse


The development of child support policy over the past three decades provides an emblematic case study of the ways in which a new policy that reflects the rise of moral arguments about individual and family responsibility, once established, produces significant consequences for both the economic sphere and political dialogues. I use social control theory to examine a rarely appreciated consequence of child support policies: labor regulation. Particularly, I demonstrate the ways in which the discourse embedded in child support has exalted the importance of work even under the lowest terms, and has deflected public attention away from labor market issues.

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