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A Cautionary Tale about the Use of Administrative Data: Evidence from Age of Marriage Laws

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  • Rebecca M. Blank
  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • James M. Sallee

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that administrative data may be inferior to survey data under particular circumstances. We examine the effect of state laws governing the minimum age of marriage in the United States. The estimated effects of these laws are much smaller when based on retrospective reports from census versus administrative records from Vital Statistics data. This discrepancy appears due to systematic avoidance behavior of two kinds. Some young people marry in states with less restrictive laws; others appear to have misrepresented their age on their marriage certificate. Our results have important implications regarding legal avoidance and the use of administrative data. (JEL J12 K36)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.2.128
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2008-0014_data.zip
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 128-49

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:128-49

Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.2.128
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  1. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
  3. Joel Slemrod, 1992. "Do Taxes Matter? Lessons From the 1980s," NBER Working Papers 4008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. McKinnish, Terra, 2007. "Welfare-induced migration at state borders: New evidence from micro-data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 437-450, April.
  5. Daniel Klepinger & Shelly Lundberg & Robert Plotnick, 1999. "How Does Adolescent Fertility Affect the Human Capital and Wages of Young Women?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 421-448.
  6. Kenkel, Donald S, 1993. "Drinking, Driving, and Deterrence: The Effectiveness and Social Costs of Alternative Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Sara LaLumia & James M. Salle & Nicolas Turner, 2013. "New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Erik Hurst & Geng Li & Benjamin Pugsley, 2011. "Are household surveys like tax forms: evidence from income underreporting of the self-employed," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-06, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Mircea Trandafir, 2014. "The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Different-Sex Marriage: Evidence From the Netherlands," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 317-340, February.
  4. Edlund, Lena Cecilia & Machado, Cecilia, 2009. "Marriage and Emancipation in The Age of The Pill," CEPR Discussion Papers 7485, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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