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Common Law Marriage and Male/Female Convergence in Labor Supply and Time Use

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Author Info

  • Grossbard, Shoshana

    ()
    (San Diego State University)

  • Vernon, Victoria

    ()
    (Empire State College)

Abstract

Does availability of common law marriage (CLM henceforth) in the U.S help explain variation in the labor force participation, hours of work and hours of household production of men and women over time and across states? As CLM offers more legal protection to household producers at the margin between single status and marriage, we expect it to discourage labor supply and encourage household production on the part of household producers who are married or cohabit. In the context of traditional gender roles this implies a negative association between availability of CLM and the labor supply of women who are either married or cohabit. Also assuming traditional gender roles, men are then expected to work more in the labor force when CLM is available. We analyze micro data from CPS-iPums for the period 1995-2011 to investigate labor outcomes and from the ATUS for the period 2003-11 to study effects on household production and total hours of work. Labor supply effects of CLM availability are almost always negative for cohabiting and married women, and sometimes also for single women. The effects of CLM on men's labor supply tend to be negative when samples include all men aged 18-35. However, for the groups that we identified as most likely to be affected by CLM availability – the youngest white men w/o college education – we find positive effects. Married non-black men and women and work less in home production under CLM.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7937.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7937

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Keywords: labor supply; marriage; law and economics; household production;

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References

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  1. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," Cahiers de recherche, Université Laval - Département d'économique 0103, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  2. Shoshana Grossbard & Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2005. "Marriage Markets and Married Women’s Labor Force Participation," Working Papers, San Diego State University, Department of Economics 0013, San Diego State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Stewart, Jay, 2009. "Tobit or Not Tobit?," IZA Discussion Papers 4588, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ekert-Jaffe, Olivia & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2008. "Does community property discourage unpartnered births?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 25-40, March.
  5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  6. Alger, Ingela & Cox, Donald, 2012. "The Evolution of Altruistic Preferences: Mothers versus Fathers," TSE Working Papers, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) 12-369, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2013.
  7. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra & Neuman, Shoshana, 1988. "Women's Labor Supply and Marital Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1294-1302, December.
  8. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-54, June.
  9. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
  10. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-67, June.
  11. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1982. "A Theory of Marriage Formality: The Case of Guatemala," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 813-30, July.
  12. El Lahga, AbdelRahmen & Moreau, Nicolas, 2007. "The Effects of Marriage on Couples’ Allocation of Time Between Market and Non-Market Hours," IZA Discussion Papers 2619, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Arthur H. Goldsmith & Darrick Hamilton & William Darity, Jr, 2007. "From Dark to Light: Skin Color and Wages Among African-Americans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(4).
  14. Betsey Stevenson, 2007. "The Impact of Divorce Laws on Marriage-Specific Capital," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 75-94.
  15. Katie R. Genadek & Wendy A. Stock & Christiana Stoddard, 2007. "No-Fault Divorce Laws and the Labor Supply of Women with and without Children," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 42(1).
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