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¿Unión libre o matrimonio? Efectos en el bienestar de los hijos


  • Amador, Diego

    (Universidad de Pensilvania)

  • Bernal, Raquel

    (Universidad de los Andes)


In this paper we evaluate whether there are differences in adult and child outcomes between cohabiting and married households, once differences in observed characteristics are controlled for and possible endogeneity biases due to selection issues are taken into account by using an instrumental variables estimator. We use a variety of Colombian data sources that contain a wealth of data on children’s outcome measures. We find that cohabiting households are worse off in various dimensions including ownership of durable goods and child outcomes. In addition, we attempt to understand the reasons why these differences arise and find evidence that cohabiting households exhibit less stable and forward looking behaviors, are characterized by less risk sharing and specialization, and exhibit less healthy behaviors and different childrearing practices..// En este artículo evaluamos si existen diferencias en las variables de desempeño de niños y adultos entre hogares casados y hogares en unión libre, una vez que se controla por diferencias observadas entre los dos tipos de familias y se controla por posibles problemas de endogeneidad debidos a la autoselección con base en la utilización de la técnica de variables instrumentales. Utilizamos una variedad de bases de datos colombianas que tienen información acerca de variables de desempeño de los niños. Los resultados indican que los hogares en unión libre están peor que los hogares casados en varias dimensiones, incluidas la tenencia de bienes duraderos y el bienestar infantil. Además, intentamos entender las razones por las cuales estas diferencias emergen y encontramos que los hogares en unión libre exhiben comportamientos menos estables, con menor planeación del futuro, se caracterizan por menor especialización y riesgo compartido entre la pareja, y exhiben comportamientos menos saludables y peores prácticas parentales.

Suggested Citation

  • Amador, Diego & Bernal, Raquel, 2012. "¿Unión libre o matrimonio? Efectos en el bienestar de los hijos," El Trimestre Económico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, vol. 0(315), pages .529-573, julio-sep.
  • Handle: RePEc:elt:journl:v:79:y:2012:i:315:p:529-573

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    More about this item


    estructura familiar; matrimonio; bienestar infantil;

    JEL classification:

    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth


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