Social Equity, Human Development Theory, and Factors Related to the Growth of Child Support Arrears in States, 2011-2015

Martha E Wettemann, Tennessee State University


H. George Frederickson identified six domains of social equity, including nutrition, shelter, clothing, healthcare, employment, and education, advocating adequate access to all domains for the disadvantaged. This multi-faceted view of equity foreshadowed current research on disadvantaged populations and potential solutions to reduce poverty and increase human flourishing. One of the main characteristics of the human development and capabilities approach is its description of poverty as a multidimensional phenomenon and also as social exclusion. Regression analysis tested whether the change in child support arrears in states during the economic recovery period of 2011–2015 was associated with four factors related to human flourishing identified by Heckman and Corbin in human development theory: social engagement, earnings and income, physical and mental health or crime and delinquency, or with state economic variables or safety net benefit levels. Factors found to be significantly related to the dependent variables of state arrears per child and annual change in arrears during 2011 to 2015 were state violent crime rates, years of life lost before age 75, median wage, TANF benefits, and number of new jobs created per year. State and federal policies should routinely include social equity assessments of potential effects on the marginalized of harmful negative sanctions, such as those imposed in the collection of child support, and use state authority to create more positive reforms which can maintain and enhance the social capital of the poor in this generation and the next.

Subject Area

Social research|Public administration|Public policy

Recommended Citation

Martha E Wettemann, "Social Equity, Human Development Theory, and Factors Related to the Growth of Child Support Arrears in States, 2011-2015" (2019). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI13806771.