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Do Children Stabilize Marriages?

Author

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  • Svarer, Michael

    (Department of Economics, University of Aarhus)

  • Verner, Mette

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)

Abstract

In this paper we study the relationship between fertility behavior and the process of marriage duration. The potential endogeneity of fertility on marriage behavior is taken into account by modeling 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 the selectivity bias arising from the fertility decision, we conclude that children themselves do not have a positive effect on marriage duration.

Suggested Citation

  • Svarer, Michael & Verner, Mette, 2003. "Do Children Stabilize Marriages?," Working Papers 03-4, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2003_004 Note: Forthcoming in Journal of Population Economics
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jacobsen, Joyce P. & PearceIII, James Wishart & Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 2001. "The effects of child-bearing on women's marital status: using twin births as a natural experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-138, January.
    2. Rosholm, Michael & Svarer, Michael, 2001. "Structurally dependent competing risks," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 169-173, November.
    3. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 293-329, January.
    4. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    5. Gary S. Becker & Elisabeth M. Landes & Robert T. Michael, 1976. "Economics of Marital Instability," NBER Working Papers 0153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Svarer, Michael, "undated". "Determinants of Divorce in Denmark," Economics Working Papers 2002-19, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    7. Lee Lillard & Linda Waite, 1993. "A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 30(4), pages 653-681, November.
    8. Heckman, James J & Walker, James R, 1990. "The Relationship between Wages and Income and the Timing and Spacing of Births: Evidence from Swedish Longitudinal Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1411-1441, November.
    9. Vuri, Daniela, 2002. "Propensity Score Estimates of the Effect of Fertility on Marital Dissolution," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 180, Royal Economic Society.
    10. Lillard, Lee A., 1993. "Simultaneous equations for hazards : Marriage duration and fertility timing," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1-2), pages 189-217, March.
    11. Aassve, Arnstein & Burgess, Simon & Propper, Carol, 1997. "'I Vont To Be Alone' Transitions to Independent Living, Marriage and Divorce Among Young Americans," CEPR Discussion Papers 1715, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Boheim, Rene & Ermisch, John, 2001. " Partnership Dissolution in the UK--The Role of Economic Circumstances," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 63(2), pages 197-208, May.
    13. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2003. "The Nonparametric Identification of Treatment Effects in Duration Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1491-1517, September.
    14. Michael Svarer, 2004. "Is Your Love in Vain? Another Look at Premarital Cohabitation and Divorce," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
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    Cited by:

    1. Svarer, Michael, "undated". "Determinants of Divorce in Denmark," Economics Working Papers 2002-19, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; divorce; children;

    JEL classification:

    • C30 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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