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Should We Get Married? The Effect of Parents’ Marriage on Out-of-Wedlock Children

Author

Listed:
  • Shirley H. Liu

    () (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Frank Heiland

    () (Department of Economics and Center of Demography and Population Health, Florida State University)

Abstract

Using a representative sample of children all born to unwed parents drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), we investigate whether marriage after childbirth has a causal effect on early child cognitive ability, using a treatment outcome approach to account for selfselection into marriage. Comparing children with similar background characteristics and parental mate-selection patterns who differ only in terms of whether their parents marry after childbirth, marriage between unwed biological parents leads to a four point increase in their child’s Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) score at age three relative to children whose parents remain unmarried.

Suggested Citation

  • Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2007. "Should We Get Married? The Effect of Parents’ Marriage on Out-of-Wedlock Children," Working Papers 0611, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:0611
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    File URL: http://moya.bus.miami.edu/~sliu/Research_files/marriage8.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kwok Chan & Ka Fung & Ender Demir, 2015. "The health and behavioral outcomes of out-of-wedlock children from families of social fathers," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 385-411, June.
    2. Kasey Buckles & Melanie Guldi & Joseph Price, 2011. "Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 46(3), pages 539-567.
    3. Keith Finlay & David Neumark, 2010. "Is Marriage Always Good for Children?: Evidence from Families Affected by Incarceration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 1046-1088.
    4. Chan, Kwok Ho & Fung, Ka Wai Terence, 2013. "The Effect of Social Fathers on the Cognitive Skills of Out-of-Wedlock Children," MPRA Paper 52875, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Helgertz, Jonas & Vågerö, Denny, 2014. "Small for gestational age and adulthood risk of disability pension: The contribution of childhood and adulthood conditions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 249-257.
    6. Sharon H. Bzostek & Lawrence M. Berger, 2017. "Family Structure Experiences and Child Socioemotional Development During the First Nine Years of Life: Examining Heterogeneity by Family Structure at Birth," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 513-540, April.
    7. Shirley H. Liu & Frank Heiland, 2007. "New Estimates on the Effect of Parental Separation on Child Health," Working Papers 0719, University of Miami, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing; Child Cognitive Development; Propensity Score Matching;

    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
    • C3 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables

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