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Common Law Marriage, Labor Supply, and Time Use: A Partial Explanation for Gender Convergence in Labor Supply: We thank the editors, two anonymous referees, and participants at an IZA workshop on gender convergence for helpful suggestions

In: Gender Convergence in the Labor Market


  • Shoshana Grossbard
  • Victoria Vernon


Using micro data from CPS for the period 1995–2011 we investigate effects of Common Law Marriage (CLM) on labor outcomes and using the ATUS for the period 2003–2011 we study its effects on household production and leisure. Identification of CLM effects arises through cross-state variation and variation over time, as three states abolished CLM over the period examined in the CPS data. Labor supply effects of CLM availability are negative for married women: for instance, weekly hours of work are reduced by 1–2 hours. In addition, some CLM effects on married men’s labor supply are positive. Consequently, the abolition of CLM in some states helps explain the convergence of men and women’s labor supply. Negative CLM effects on married women’s labor supply are limited to white, Hispanic, college-educated women, and women with children. There is little evidence of effects of CLM on leisure and household production. A conceptual framework based on the concept of Work-In-Household, marriage market analysis, and the assumption of traditional gender roles helps explain gender differentials in the effects of CLM on labor supply and why these effects are larger for white and college-educated women.

Suggested Citation

  • Shoshana Grossbard & Victoria Vernon, 2015. "Common Law Marriage, Labor Supply, and Time Use: A Partial Explanation for Gender Convergence in Labor Supply: We thank the editors, two anonymous referees, and participants at an IZA workshop on gend," Research in Labor Economics, in: Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Tatsiramos & Klaus F. Zimmermann (ed.), Gender Convergence in the Labor Market, volume 41, pages 143-175, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:rleczz:s0147-912120140000041012

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    More about this item


    Labor supply; Common Law Marriage; household production; J12; J16; J22; K36;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law


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