IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/osu/osuewp/09-08.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic Incentives and Family Formation

Author

Listed:
  • Audrey Light

    () (Department of Economics, Ohio State University)

  • Yoshiaki Omori

    (Faculty of Economics, Yokohama National University)

Abstract

This study identifies the effects of economic factors that can be directly manipulated by public policy on women’s union-forming decisions. We jointly model transitions made by never-married women to cohabitation or marriage, cohabiting women to marriage or separation, and married women to divorce. We control for expected income tax burdens, maximum allowed state AFDC or TANF benefits, average state Medicaid expenditures, and parameters of state laws governing divorce and the division of property, along with a wide array of family background, personal, and environmental characteristics. We compare the estimated effects of alternative policy interventions to each other, and to the estimated effects of nonpolicy factors. In addition to focusing on the predicted effect of each factor on each individual transition (single to married, etc.), we compute their effects on the predicted probability of long-term marriage and long-term unions of any type (marriage or cohabitation). We find that each policy variable except the income tax “marriage penalty” is a potentially important determinant of long-term union formation. However, several factors that are outside the control of policy makers, such as religion, childhood household composition and the presence of children also have very large, potentially offsetting effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2009. "Economic Incentives and Family Formation," Working Papers 09-08, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:osu:osuewp:09-08
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/pdf/alight/wp09-08.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert Moffitt & Robert Reville & Anne Winkler, 1998. "Beyond single mothers: Cohabitation and marriage in the AFDC program," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(3), pages 259-278, August.
    2. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-294, April.
    3. Peters, H Elizabeth, 1986. "Marriage and Divorce: Informational Constraints and Private Contracting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 437-454, June.
    4. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Colin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 2002. "Are There Returns To The Wages Of Young Men From Working While In School?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 221-236, May.
    5. Robert Kaestner & Neeraj Kaushal, 2005. "Immigrant and native responses to welfare reform," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(1), pages 69-92, July.
    6. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2005. "Income Taxation and Marital Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 565-599, Juky.
    7. Saul D. Hoffman & Greg J. Duncan, 1995. "The Effect of Incomes, Wages, and AFDC Benefits on Marital Disruption," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 19-41.
    8. Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Will Extending Medicaid to Two-Parent Families Encourage Marriage?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 833-865.
    9. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    10. Spiros Bougheas & Yannis Georgellis, 1999. "The effect of divorce costs on marriage formation and dissolution," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 12(3), pages 489-498.
    11. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2006. "Divorce Laws and the Structure of the American Family," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 143-174, January.
    12. Daniel Lichter & Zhenchao Qian & Leanna Mellott, 2006. "Marriage or dissolution? Union transitions among poor cohabiting women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 43(2), pages 223-240, May.
    13. Feenberg, Daniel R. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1995. "Recent Developments in the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 48(1), pages 91-101, March.
    14. Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Examining the Wage Differential for Married and Cohabiting Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 199-212, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. DAVID M. BLAU & WILBERT van der KLAAUW, 2013. "What Determines Family Structure?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 579-604, January.
    2. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2013. "Determinants of Long-Term Unions: Who Survives the “Seven Year Itch”?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(6), pages 851-891, December.
    3. Steve Laufer & Ahu Gemici, 2009. "Marriage and Cohabitation," 2009 Meeting Papers 1191, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Elliott Isaac, 2018. "Marriage, Divorce, and Tax and Transfer Policy," Working Papers 1810, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Can Long-Term Cohabiting and Marital Unions be Incentivized?," Research in Labor Economics, in: Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Research in Labor Economics, volume 36, pages 241-283, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    6. Elliott Isaac, 2018. "Suddenly Married: Joint Taxation And The Labor Supply Of Same-Sex Married Couples After U.S. v. Windsor," Working Papers 1809, Tulane University, Department of Economics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Can Long-Term Cohabiting and Marital Unions be Incentivized?," Research in Labor Economics, in: Solomon W. Polachek & Konstantinos Tatsiramos (ed.), Research in Labor Economics, volume 36, pages 241-283, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    2. González-Val, Rafael & Marcén, Miriam, 2012. "Unilateral divorce versus child custody and child support in the U.S," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 613-643.
    3. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    4. Nancy R. Burstein, 2007. "Economic influences on marriage and divorce," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 387-429.
    5. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2013. "Determinants of Long-Term Unions: Who Survives the “Seven Year Itch”?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(6), pages 851-891, December.
    6. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Ahituv, Avner & Lerman, Robert I., 2005. "How Do Marital Status, Wage Rates, and Work Commitment Interact?," IZA Discussion Papers 1688, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Robert A. Moffitt & Brian J. Phelan & Anne E. Winkler, 2020. "Welfare Rules, Incentives, and Family Structure," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 55(1), pages 1-42.
    9. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes & Madeline Zavodny, 2004. "The impact of welfare reform on marriage and divorce," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(2), pages 213-236, May.
    10. repec:msl:workng:1008 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Patrick Ishizuka, 2018. "The Economic Foundations of Cohabiting Couples’ Union Transitions," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(2), pages 535-557, April.
    12. DAVID M. BLAU & WILBERT van der KLAAUW, 2013. "What Determines Family Structure?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 579-604, January.
    13. Jonathan Gruber, 2000. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," NBER Working Papers 7968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Ronald Mincy & Jennifer Hill & Marilyn Sinkewicz, 2009. "Marriage: Cause or mere indicator of future earnings growth?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(3), pages 417-439.
    15. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Verdelin, Nicolaj, 2008. "An evaluation of the tax-transfer treatment of married couples in European countries," EUROMOD Working Papers EM7/08, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    16. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Nina Smith & Leslie S. Stratton, 2007. "Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 412-433, October.
    17. Bradley Hardy & Timothy Smeeding & James P. Ziliak, 2018. "The Changing Safety Net for Low-Income Parents and Their Children: Structural or Cyclical Changes in Income Support Policy?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(1), pages 189-221, February.
    18. Averett, Susan L. & Sikora, Asia & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "For better or worse: Relationship status and body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 330-349, December.
    19. Niklas Jakobsson & Andreas Kotsadam, 2016. "Does marriage affect men’s labor market outcomes? A European perspective," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 373-389, June.
    20. Mumcu, Ayse & Saglam, Ismail, 2006. "Marriage and Divorce in a Model of Matching," MPRA Paper 1907, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Matthew Painter & Jonathan Vespa, 2012. "The Role of Cohabitation in Asset and Debt Accumulation During Marriage," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 491-506, December.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:osu:osuewp:09-08. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John Slaughter). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.