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Common Law Marriage and Teen Births

Author

Listed:
  • Grossbard, Shoshana

    () (San Diego State University)

  • Vernon, Victoria

    () (Empire State College)

Abstract

Using microdata from Current Population Survey Fertility supplements 1990-2010 we examine whether Common Law Marriage (CLM) laws in the US affect teen birth rates. CLM effects are identified through cross-state and time variation, as four states repealed the law over the period of study. We find that in the states where CLM laws were first available but then repealed the odds that teens would become new mothers increased, with a larger increase among young black teens. When we include dummies for CLM at various times around the timing of the repeal, it turns out that the likelihood of becoming a mother is most affected by availability of CLM between 1 and 4 years prior to the repeal. There is a small negative effect of CLM on older women becoming mothers. To the extent that they reduce teen births CLM laws are socially desirable and worthy of further study.

Suggested Citation

  • Grossbard, Shoshana & Vernon, Victoria, 2015. "Common Law Marriage and Teen Births," IZA Discussion Papers 9198, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp9198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Uwe Jirjahn & Cornelia Chadi, 2020. "Out-of-partnership births in East and West Germany," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 853-881, September.
    2. Shoshana Grossbard, 2016. "Should common law marriage be abolished?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 256-256, May.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fertility; Common-Law marriage; teens;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law

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