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The effect of relationship status on health with dynamic health and persistent relationships

Author

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  • Kohn, Jennifer L.
  • Averett, Susan L.

Abstract

The dynamic evolution of health and persistent relationship status pose econometric challenges to disentangling the causal effect of relationships on health from the selection effect of health on relationship choice. Using a new econometric strategy we find that marriage is not universally better for health. Rather, cohabitation benefits the health of men and women over 45, being never married is no worse for health, and only divorce marginally harms the health of younger men. We find strong evidence that unobservable health-related factors can confound estimates. Our method can be applied to other research questions with dynamic dependent and multivariate endogenous variables.

Suggested Citation

  • Kohn, Jennifer L. & Averett, Susan L., 2014. "The effect of relationship status on health with dynamic health and persistent relationships," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 69-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:36:y:2014:i:c:p:69-83
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2014.03.010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:777-787 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mata, Jutta & Frank, Ronald & Hertwig, Ralph, 2015. "Higher body mass index, less exercise, but healthier eating in married adults: Nine representative surveys across Europe," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 119-127.
    3. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan, 2017. "Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-sex Relationships Different?," Discussion Paper 2017-041, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Shuai Chen & Jan (J.C.) van Ours, 2017. "Subjective Well-being and Partnership Dynamics; Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-088/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Sch√ľnemann, Johannes & Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2017. "The marriage gap: Optimal aging and death in partnerships," ECON WPS - Vienna University of Technology Working Papers in Economic Theory and Policy 04/2017, Vienna University of Technology, Institute for Mathematical Methods in Economics, Research Group Economics (ECON).
    6. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2017. "Subjective Well-Being and Partnership Dynamics: Are Same-Sex Relationships Different?," IZA Discussion Papers 11043, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Endogenous dummy variables; Dynamic panel data; Health and marriage;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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