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Will Extending Medicaid to Two-Parent Families Encourage Marriage?

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  • A. S. Yelowitz

Abstract

Several welfare programs in the United States restrict eligibility to single-parent families. This paper asks whether eliminating this restriction for Medicaid encourages marriage. I identify Medicaid's effect through a series of health insurance reforms that were passed in the 1980s and 1990s targeting young children. These reforms were associated with an increase in the probability of marriage of 1.7 percentage points. While the expansions offered some incentives to become married, they also created other incentives to become divorced (known as the "independence effect"). After controlling for the outflows from marriage due to the independence effect, the estimated effect increases by 10 percent.

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  • A. S. Yelowitz, "undated". "Will Extending Medicaid to Two-Parent Families Encourage Marriage?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1118-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1118-97
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