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Do children of the first marriage deter divorce?

Author

Listed:
  • Héctor Bellido

    (Universidad de Zaragossa)

  • José Alberto Molina

    (Universidad de Zaragossa)

  • Anne Solaz

    (INED - Institut national d'études démographiques)

  • Elena Stancanelli

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

In terms of economics, individuals divorce if their expected gains from marriage fall short of their expected utility outside the current marriage, and children represent a marriage-specific type of investment, which generally increases the value of marriage for the spouses. However, children may also disrupt marital stability as they will induce dramatic changes into the household allocation of money and time. In particular, children conceived before or after first marriage may be valued differently by the spouses and this may lead to marital conflicts. It is difficult to assign a priori the direction of the effect of children on marriage stability, and causality may run either way, as couples who anticipate a separation are more likely to have fewer children than those who are happy together, while children born before first marriage may be associated with a lower marriage attachment of their parents. Here, we follow an empirical approach and take advantage of the richness of the data on pre-marital history from the 24 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth79, to estimate the effect of children conceived before or after first marriage on marital stability. We find a significant deterrent effect of young children conceived during first marriage to the likelihood of divorce, while children conceived before first marriage are found to have a disruptive effect on marital stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Héctor Bellido & José Alberto Molina & Anne Solaz & Elena Stancanelli, 2016. "Do children of the first marriage deter divorce?," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" hal-01299948, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:hal-01299948
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2016.01.023
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01299948
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    3. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2018. "Unemployment and Marital Breakdown: The Spanish Case," GLO Discussion Paper Series 220, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. García, Lucia & Molina, José Alberto, 2017. "The household structure: recent international evolution," MPRA Paper 82049, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gimenez-Nadal, Jose Ignacio & Molina, Jose Alberto, 2017. "The Substitution Effect and the Profit Function in Consumption: expressions from the Marshallian, Hicksian, and Frischian demand functions," MPRA Paper 82249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. O’Leary, Nigel & Li, Ian W. & Gupta, Prashant & Blackaby, David, 2020. "Wellbeing trajectories around life events in Australia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 499-509.
    7. Ferrando-Latorre, Sandra, 2017. "Risky consumption and intergenerational mobility: a research program in a family context," MPRA Paper 79777, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2020. "On the relationship between body mass index and marital dissolution," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 326-340.
    9. García, Lucia, 2018. "Inter-generational and intra-generational transfers: international evidence," MPRA Paper 83986, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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