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Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus Working Papers, Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus

No 03-4:
Do Children Stabilize Marriages?

Michael Svarer and Mette Verner ()

Abstract: In this paper we study the relationship between fertility behavior and the process of marriage duration. The potential endogeneity of fertility on marriage behavior is taken into account by modeling fertility and divorce jointly. We apply the ”timing-of-event” method (Abbring & van den Berg (2002)) to identify the causal effect of births on the divorce hazard. We show that couples who are less prone to divorce are more prone to invest in children, and therefore one might (mistakenly) conclude that children tend to stabilize marriages. However, when correcting for the selectivity bias arising from the fertility decision, we conclude that children themselves do not have a positive effect on marriage duration.

Keywords: Marriage; divorce; children; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: C30; J12; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, February 1, 2003

Forthcoming in Journal of Population Economics

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