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Will You Marry Me ... if Our Children Are Healthy? The Impact of Maternal Age and the Associated Risk of Having a Child with Health Problems on Family Structure

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  • Gutierrez, Federico H.

Abstract

Family structure is usually believed to affect children's human capital. Is it possible that causality goes in the opposite direction? This paper shows that the behavior of family structure variables over the life cycle dramatically changes when women have babies in their forties. These data regularities align with a significant increase in the risk of having a child with health problems when women enter the last decade of their reproductive life. I present a simple theoretical model that provides a common underlying explanation for the data patterns and generates additional testable implications. I estimate the model predictions using ACS data.

Suggested Citation

  • Gutierrez, Federico H., 2019. "Will You Marry Me ... if Our Children Are Healthy? The Impact of Maternal Age and the Associated Risk of Having a Child with Health Problems on Family Structure," GLO Discussion Paper Series 354, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:354
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child health; family structure; advanced maternal age;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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