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Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages

Author

Listed:
  • Frimmel, Wolfgang

    () (University of Linz)

  • Halla, Martin

    () (University of Linz)

  • Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf

    () (University of Linz)

Abstract

Policies to promote marriage are controversial, and it is unclear whether they are successful. To analyze such policies, it is essential to distinguish between a marriage that is created by a marriage-promoting policy (marginal marriage) and a marriage that would have been formed even in the absence of a state intervention (average marriage). In this paper, we exploit the suspension of a cash-on-hand marriage subsidy in Austria to examine the differential behavior of marginal and average marriages. The announcement of this suspension led to an enormous marriage boom (plus 350 percent) among eligible couples that allows us to identify marginal marriages. Applying a difference-in-differences approach, we show that marginal marriages are surprisingly as stable as average marriages, but have fewer children and have them later in marriage. Notably, the children born to marginal marriages are similar in terms of health at birth.

Suggested Citation

  • Frimmel, Wolfgang & Halla, Martin & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2012. "Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages," IZA Discussion Papers 6704, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6704
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2016. "How Does Parental Divorce Affect Children's Long-term Outcomes?," Working Papers 2016-13, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    2. Deborah Goldschmidt & Wolfram Klosterhuber & Johannes F Schmieder, 2017. "Identifying couples in administrative data
      [Identifizierung von Ehepaaren in Administrativen Daten]
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 50(1), pages 29-43, August.
    3. Persson, Petra, 2015. "Social insurance and the marriage market," Working Paper Series 2015:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    4. Fink, Alexander, 2016. "Income taxation and the timing of marriage," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145827, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce; marriage subsidies; marriage-promoting policies; marital instability; fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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