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Should We Get Married? The Effect Of Parents' Marriage On Out‐Of‐Wedlock Children

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  • SHIRLEY H. LIU
  • FRANK HEILAND

Abstract

Using a representative sample of children all born to unwed parents drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), we investigate whether marriage after childbirth has a causal effect on early child cognitive ability, using a treatment outcome approach to account for selfselection into marriage. Comparing children with similar background characteristics and parental mate-selection patterns who differ only in terms of whether their parents marry after childbirth, marriage between unwed biological parents leads to a four point increase in their child’s Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) score at age three relative to children whose parents remain unmarried.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 50 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 17-38

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:50:y:2012:i:1:p:17-38

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Cited by:
  1. Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2007. "New Estimates on the Effect of Parental Separation on Child Health," Working Papers 0719, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  2. Chan, Kwok Ho & Fung, Ka Wai Terence, 2013. "The Effect of Social Fathers on the Cognitive Skills of Out-of-Wedlock Children," MPRA Paper 52875, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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