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Does Single Motherhood Hurt Infant Health among Young Mothers?


  • Kim, Albert Young-Il

    () (Sogang University)

  • Lee, Jungmin

    () (Seoul National University)


Does single motherhood adversely affect infant health? This question is not easy to answer because of the endogeneity of coresidence during pregnancy. In this paper, we exploit quasi-natural variation in single motherhood from the moment of conception to that of birth arising from marriageable age restrictions and the reform of the laws in Korea. The Korean birth certificate dataset is unique in that it allows us to distinguish coresidence and legal marital status and further to identify the duration of pregnancy period without a partner. Results show that although coresidence with the partner during pregnancy is seemingly beneficial for infant health, it is mostly driven by selection into coresidence. Further, we do not find any significant advantage of legal marriage among young mothers.

Suggested Citation

  • Kim, Albert Young-Il & Lee, Jungmin, 2017. "Does Single Motherhood Hurt Infant Health among Young Mothers?," IZA Discussion Papers 10592, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10592

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Janet Currie & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Mother's Education and the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital: Evidence from College Openings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1495-1532.
    2. Kasey Buckles & Joseph Price, 2013. "Selection and the Marriage Premium for Infant Health," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1315-1339, August.
    3. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile & Phongsack Manivong & Leslie L. Roos, 2010. "Child Health and Young Adult Outcomes," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    4. Adriana Camacho, 2008. "Stress and Birth Weight: Evidence from Terrorist Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 511-515, May.
    5. Douglas Almond & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2011. "Health Capital and the Prenatal Environment: The Effect of Ramadan Observance during Pregnancy," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 56-85, October.
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    More about this item


    single motherhood; coresidence; marriage; marriageable age; birth weight; LBW; preterm birth; quasi-natural experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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