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Trends in shotgun marriages: the pill, the will or the cost?


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  • Ana Nuevo-Chiquero

    (Universitat de Barcelona & IEB)

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    This paper examines the evolution of out-of-wedlock conceptions and births over the last four decades. Increases in conception outside of marriage only partially account for increases in the illegitimacy rate: controlling for age at pregnancy, being born one year later increases the probability of being single at first conception by 0.9 percentage points, while the probability of being single at first birth rises by 0.5 additional percentage points. The incidence of shotgun (post-conception) marriage among those conceiving out of wedlock decreased sharply, but the rate is not affected by the level of planning of the pregnancy nor is driven by non-users of modern contraception. However, women in marriage markets (defined by race, religion, and age) with high modern contraceptive use and who conceive outside marriage are less likely to give birth out of wedlock. The trend over time is significantly steeper when the level of modern contraceptive use in the woman's market is considered, suggesting that the spread of the pill contributed to reduce the rate of increase of out-of-wedlock motherhood.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2012/21.

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    Length: 42 pages
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2012/6/doc2012-21

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    Keywords: Out-of-wedlock birth; shotgun marriage; modern contraception;

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    1. Kevin Lang, 2007. "Introduction to Poverty and Discrimination
      [Poverty and Discrimination]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    2. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
    3. Kevin Lang & Jay L. Zagorsky, 2001. "Does Growing up with a Parent Absent Really Hurt?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(2), pages 253-273.
    4. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2002. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Working Paper 2002-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    5. Alison Aughinbaugh & Charles Pierret & Donna Rothstein, 2005. "The impact of family structure transitions on youth achievement: Evidence from the children of the NlSY79," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 447-468, August.
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