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The Effects of Child Health on Marital Status

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  • Hope Corman
  • Robert Kaestner

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide evidence on the effect of child health on marital stability and family structure within an economic framework. We use the 1988 National Health Interview Survey's Child Health Supplement, with a sample of about 9,000 families to test whether having an unhealthy child decreases the mother's chance of being married, and whether it increases her chance of living in an extended family. Using two different measures of child health, we find that having an unhealthy child does decrease the mother's likelihood of being married. Our results are strongest for white women who were married at the time of the child's birth and for black women who were unmarried at that time. These results imply that children in poor health will, more likely, face obstacles beyond their illness, since they will also be more likely to suffer consequences of poverty and poor schooling outcomes which results when raised in a female headed household. The only mitigating factor is that, for white children, they will be more likely than healthy children to living in an extended family.

Suggested Citation

  • Hope Corman & Robert Kaestner, 1991. "The Effects of Child Health on Marital Status," NBER Working Papers 3850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3850 Note: HE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sheila Krein & Andrea Beller, 1988. "Educational attainment of children from single-parent families: Differences by exposure, gender, and race," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(2), pages 221-234, May.
    2. McFadden, Daniel L., 1984. "Econometric analysis of qualitative response models," Handbook of Econometrics,in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 24, pages 1395-1457 Elsevier.
    3. Gronau, Reuben, 1977. "Leisure, Home Production, and Work-The Theory of the Allocation of Time Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1099-1123, December.
    4. Robert Hutchens & George Jakubson & Saul Schwartz, 1989. "AFDC and the Formation of Subfamilies," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(4), pages 599-628.
    5. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1987. "Birth Outcome Production Function in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 339-360.
    6. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
    7. Sara McLanahan, 1988. "Family structure and dependency: Early transitions to female household headship," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(1), pages 1-16, February.
    8. Chaikind, Stephen & Corman, Hope, 1991. "The impact of low birthweight on special education costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 291-311, October.
    9. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-250, April.
    10. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
    11. Chiswick, Carmel U & Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1990. "On Marriage-Specific Human Capital: Its Role as a Determinant of Remarriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 3(3), pages 193-213, October.
    12. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1985. "Birth Outcome Production Functions in the U.S," NBER Working Papers 1729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Saul Hoffman & Greg Duncan, 1988. "Multinomial and conditional logit discrete-choice models in demography," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(3), pages 415-427, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hope Corman & Stephen Chaikind, 1993. "The Effect of Low Birthweight on the Health, Behavior, and School Performance of School-Aged Children," NBER Working Papers 4409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Corman, Hope & Chaikind, Stephen, 1998. "The effect of low birthweight on the school performance and behavior of school-aged children," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 307-316, June.
    3. Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2003. "Effects of Child Health on Parents' Relationship Status," NBER Working Papers 9610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Karen Norberg, 1998. "The Effects of Daycare Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 6769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Anette Primdal Kvist & Helena Skyt Nielsen & Marianne Simonsen, 2011. "The effects of Children’s ADHD on Parents’ Relationship Dissolution and Labor Supply," Economics Working Papers 2011-14, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    6. Sandra Hofferth & Angela Pinzon, 2011. "Do Nonresidential Fathers’ Financial Support and Contact Improve Children’s Health?," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 280-295, June.
    7. Nancy E. Reichman & Hope Corman & Kelly Noonan, 2004. "Effects of Child Health on Sources of Public Support," NBER Working Papers 10762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lefebvre, Pierre, 2006. "Le gradient santé / revenu familial des nouveau-nés québécois de 1998 après quatre ans : faible ou inexistant?," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 82(4), pages 523-595, décembre.

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