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The Death of Marriage? The Effects of New Forms of Legal Recognition on Marriage Rates in the United States

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  • Marcus Dillender

Abstract

Some conservative groups argue that allowing same-sex couples to marry reduces the value of marriage to opposite-sex couples. This article examines how changes in U.S. legal recognition laws occurring between 1995 and 2010 designed to include same-sex couples have altered marriage rates in the United States. Using a difference-in-differences strategy that compares how marriage rates change after legal recognition in U.S. states that alter legal recognition versus states that do not, I find no evidence that allowing same-sex couples to marry reduces the opposite-sex marriage rate. Although the opposite-sex marriage rate is unaffected by same-sex couples marrying, it decreases when domestic partnerships are available to opposite-sex couples. Copyright Population Association of America 2014

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  • Marcus Dillender, 2014. "The Death of Marriage? The Effects of New Forms of Legal Recognition on Marriage Rates in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(2), pages 563-585, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:51:y:2014:i:2:p:563-585
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-013-0277-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wendy D. Manning & Susan L. Brown & J. Bart Stykes, 2016. "Same-Sex and Different-Sex Cohabiting Couple Relationship Stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 937-953, August.
    2. Lina Aldén & Lena Edlund & Mats Hammarstedt & Michael Mueller-Smith, 2015. "Effect of Registered Partnership on Labor Earnings and Fertility for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence From Swedish Register Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1243-1268, August.
    3. Joshua J. Miller & Kevin A. Park, 2018. "Same-sex marriage laws and demand for mortgage credit," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 229-254, June.
    4. Chen, Shuai & van Ours, Jan C., 2020. "Symbolism matters: The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on partnership stability," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 44-58.
    5. Mary Eschelbach Hansen & Michael E. Martell & Leanne Roncolato, 2020. "A labor of love: The impact of same-sex marriage on labor supply," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 265-283, June.
    6. Sansone, Dario, 2019. "Pink work: Same-sex marriage, employment and discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    7. Marcén, Miriam & Morales, Marina, 2019. "The effect of same-sex marriage legalization on interstate migration in the United States," GLO Discussion Paper Series 435, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    8. Alexis Dinno, 2014. "Comment on “The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Different-Sex Marriage: Evidence From the Netherlands”," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2343-2347, December.
    9. Christopher S. Carpenter, 2020. "The Direct Effects of Legal Same-Sex Marriage in the United States: Evidence From Massachusetts," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(5), pages 1787-1808, October.
    10. Christopher S. Carpenter & Samuel T. Eppink & Gilbert Gonzales & Tara McKay, 2021. "Effects of Access to Legal Same‐Sex Marriage on Marriage and Health," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 40(2), pages 376-411, March.
    11. Delhommer, Scott M. & Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2020. "Same-Sex Couples and the Marital Surplus: The Importance of the Legal Environment," IZA Discussion Papers 13061, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    12. Joelle Abramowitz & Marcus Dillender, 2017. "Considering the Use of Stock and Flow Outcomes in Empirical Analyses: An Examination of Marriage Data," Working Papers 17-64, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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