Why are British lone mothers less likely to be in paid work than in most other western countries? And is 'welfare to work' the right sort of policy response? This book sets out to answer questions like these through in-depth analysis of how lone mothers negotiate the relationship between motherhood and paid work. Combining qualitative and quantitative data, it focuses on social capital in different neighbourhoods, local labour markets and welfare states, and throughout makes particular comparisons with lone mothers in Germany, Sweden and the USA. In so doing, the book provides a critique of conventional economic accounts of decision-making, and posits an alternative concept of 'gendered moral rationality' which can better account for lone mothers' labour market behaviour. It also sets up a new framework for understanding political and policy discourses about lone motherhood, and develops a concept of 'genderfare' with which to understand national policy differences.