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Just a piece of paper? The effect of marriage on health

  • Fisher, Hayley

There is extensive evidence that married people are, on average, healthier than their unmarried counterparts. It is unclear how much this positive correlation can be explained by the selection of healthier people into marriage. In this paper, I estimate the effect of marriage relative to cohabitation on health and disability. I control for selection into marriage by instrumenting marital status using state and time variation in marriage tax penalties. After controlling for selection, low education men benefit from marriage whilst all other men are no better off if married. For women with more than high school education, marriage increases the probability of reporting a health problem.

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File URL: http://econ-wpseries.com/2012/201217.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Sydney, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-17.

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Date of creation: May 2012
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Handle: RePEc:syd:wpaper:2012-17
Contact details of provider: Postal: Sydney, NSW 2006
Phone: 61 +2 9351 5055
Fax: 61 +2 9351 4341
Web page: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/economics
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  1. Greg Duncan & Bessie Wilkerson & Paula England, 2006. "Cleaning up their act: The effects of marriage and cohabitation on licit and illicit drug use," Demography, Springer, vol. 43(4), pages 691-710, November.
  2. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical care, and Child Health," NBER Working Papers 5052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Health and Retirement: Do Changes in Health Affect Retirement Expectations?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  4. Crossley, Thomas F. & Kennedy, Steven, 2002. "The reliability of self-assessed health status," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 643-658, July.
  5. James Alm & Leslie Whittington, 2003. "Shacking Up or Shelling Out: Income Taxes, Marriage, and Cohabitation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 169-186, September.
  6. Fisher, Hayley, 2011. "Marriage penalties, marriage, and cohabitation," Working Papers 2011-12, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  7. Joshua Angrist, 1999. "Estimation of Limited-Dependent Variable Models with Dummy Endogenous Regressors: Simple Strategies for Empirical Practice," Working papers 99-31, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  9. repec:mpr:mprres:5512 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2000. "Explaining the Fall and Rise in the Tax Cost of Marriage: The Effect of Tax Laws and Demographic Trends, 1984-97," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 683-712, September.
  11. Lee Lillard & Constantijn Panis, 1996. "Marital status and mortality: The role of health," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 313-327, August.
  12. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  13. repec:mpr:mprres:5511 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1996. "The Rise and Fall and Rise ... of the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 571-89, December.
  15. Manzoli, Lamberto & Villari, Paolo & M Pirone, Giovanni & Boccia, Antonio, 2007. "Marital status and mortality in the elderly: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 77-94, January.
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