Overview of the Final Report of the Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment. Marital Stability


How can the SIME/DIME results be used as a guide to the possible effects on family structure of new public policy initiatives?  The analyst themselves "caution the reader against uncritically extrapolating from these or any other summary measure of the effects of SIME/DIME on marital dissolution."(11)  They stress as reasons for this statement the following facts:  the SIME/DIME sample is nationally unrepresentative, the relationship of the impact of a limited duration experiment to that of a permanent national program is ambiguous, non-pecuniary differences in programs (caused by different administrative procedures and/or work requirements, for example) seem to have important effects on the family structure impact, the social context of SIME/DIME and of a national program are likely to differ in important respects, the remarriage effects of a national program would probably differ because of the possible incentive to marry into the experiment, and the differences among ethnic groups in the treatment structure are not yet fully understood.  Yet after discussing all these reasons, the analyst conclude:  "We have discussed a number of factors that complicate any attempt to extrapolate from SIME/DIME to any other NIT program.  None of these factors alter our qualitative conclusion.  Given the magnitude of these findings, it is unlikely that any national NIT program would be neutral with respect to marital stability.  Although the effects of a national NIT program are unlikely to be as dramatic as the experimental effects, the potential for such effects must not be ignored".(12)