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Selection and the Marriage Premium for Infant Health

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  • Kasey S. Buckles

    () (Department of Economics, University of Notre Dame)

Abstract

Previous research has found a positive relationship between marriage and infant health. However, it is unclear whether this relationship is causal or a reflection of positive selection into marriage. In this paper, we use multiple empirical approaches to address this issue. First, we use the rich set of information available in the Natality Detail Files to control for selection into marriage along observable characteristics. We use a technique developed by Gelbach (2009) to determine the relative importance of different covariates, and show how selection into marriage has changed over time. Second, we construct a matched sample of children born to the same mother and exploit individual-level variation in marital status at birth. We apply fixed-effects and first-differences techniques to this matched sample to account for time-invariant unobserved characteristics. We find evidence of a sizable marriage premium. However, the premium fell by over 40% between 1989 and 2004, largely as a result of declining selection into marriage by race. Accounting for selection reduces OLS estimates of the marriage premiums for birth weight, prematurity, and infant mortality by at least half.

Suggested Citation

  • Kasey S. Buckles, 2012. "Selection and the Marriage Premium for Infant Health," Working Papers 003, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:nod:wpaper:003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ho-Po Crystal WONG, 2016. "Credible Commitments and Marriage: When the Homemaker Gets her Share at Divorce," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 241-279, September.
    2. repec:kap:reveho:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11150-015-9300-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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).
    4. Christoph Eder & Martin Halla, 2017. "Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy," Working Papers 2017-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    5. Ayllón, Sara & Ferreira-Batista, Natalia N., 2015. "‘Mommy, I miss daddy’. The effect of family structure on children's health in Brazil," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, pages 75-89.
    6. Fletcher, Jason M. & Polos, Jessica, 2017. "Nonmarital and Teen Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 10833, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Andrew T. Young & Travis Wiseman & Thomas L. Hogan, 2014. "Changing Perceptions of Maturity Mismatch in the U.S. Banking System: Evidence from Equity Markets," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 193-210, July.
    8. Buckles, Kasey, 2017. "Maternal Socio-Economic Status and the Well-Being of the Next Generation(s)," IZA Discussion Papers 10714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Infant Health;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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