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Early teen marriage and future poverty

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  • Gordon Dahl

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Abstract

Both early teen marriage and dropping out of high school have historically been associated with a variety of negative outcomes, including higher poverty rates throughout life. Are these negative outcomes due to pre-existing differences or do they represent the causal effect of marriage and schooling choices? To better understand the true personal and societal consequences, this paper uses an instrumental variables approach which takes advantage of variation in state laws regulating the age at which individuals are allowed to marry, drop out of school, and begin work. The baseline IV estimate indicates that a woman who marries young is 31 percentage points more likely to live in poverty when she is older. Similarly, a woman who drops out of school is 11 percentage points more likely to be poor. The results are robust to a variety of alternative specifications and estimation methods, including LIML estimation and a control function approach. While grouped OLS estimates for the early teen marriage variable are also large, OLS estimates based on individual-level data are small, consistent with a large amount of measurement error.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Demography.

Volume (Year): 47 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 689-718

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Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:47:y:2010:i:3:p:689-718

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Web page: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/13524

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Cited by:
  1. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2012. "Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages," Economics working papers 2012-09, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Kasey Buckles & Joseph Price, 2013. "Selection and the Marriage Premium for Infant Health," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(4), pages 1315-1339, August.
  3. Grönqvist, Hans, 2009. "Putting teenagers on the pill: the consequences of subsidized contraception," Working Paper Series 2009:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  4. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Wolfgang Frimmel & Gerald J. Pruckner, 2011. "Birth weight and family status revisited: evidence from Austrian register data," Economics working papers 2011-17, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk �zler, 2011. "Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
  7. Rebecca M. Blank & Kerwin Kofi Charles & James M. Sallee, 2009. "A Cautionary Tale about the Use of Administrative Data: Evidence from Age of Marriage Laws," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 128-49, April.
  8. Depew, Briggs & Fishback, Price V. & Rhode, Paul W., 2013. "New deal or no deal in the Cotton South: The effect of the AAA on the agricultural labor structure," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 466-486.
  9. Lehrer, Evelyn L. & Chen, Yu, 2012. "Delayed Entry into First Marriage: Further Evidence on the Becker-Landes-Michael Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 6729, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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