Do Children Stabilize Marriages?
In this paper we study the relationship between fertility and divorce. The potential endogeneity of fertility in divorce decisions is explicitly addressed by modelling fertility and divorce jointly. We apply the "timing-of-event" method (Abbring & van den Berg (2002)) to identify the causal effect of births on the divorce hazard. We show that couples who are less prone to divorce are more prone to invest in children, and therefore one might (mistakenly) conclude that children tend to stabilize marriages. However, when correcting for endogeneity of fertility, we conclude that children themselves do not have a positive effect on marriage duration.
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