Get access

SHOULD WE GET MARRIED? THE EFFECT OF PARENTS' MARRIAGE ON OUT-OF-WEDLOCK CHILDREN

Authors

  • SHIRLEY H. LIU,

    1. Liu: Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Miami, PO Box 248126, Coral Gables, FL 33124-6550. Phone 1-305-284-4738, Fax 1-305-284-6550, E-mail s.liu2@miami.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
  • FRANK HEILAND

    1. Heiland: Assistant Professor, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research and School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, Box D-901, One Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010. Associate Professor, Center for Demography and Population Health and Department of Economics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306. Phone 1-646-660-6700, Fax 1-646-660-6784, E-mail frank.heiland@baruch.cuny.edu
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Shirley H. Liu acknowledges financial support through the James W. McLamore Summer Research Awards in Business and the Social Sciences from the University of Miami. Helpful comments were received from Philip Robins, David Ribar, Elaina Rose, Gregory Acs, Andrew Cherlin, Scott Drewianka, Kristin Mammen, Joseph Sabia, Thomas Kniesner, Oscar Mitnik, Carlos Flores, Steffen Reinhold, Al Holtmann, and two anonymous referees.


Abstract

Using a representative sample of children all born to unwed parents drawn from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and a potential outcome approach to account for self-selection into marriage, we investigate whether marriage after childbearing has a causal effect on early child development. Comparing children with similar background characteristics and parental mate-selection patterns who differ only in terms of whether their parents marry after childbirth, we find that marriage after childbirth significantly increases a child's early cognitive performance but there is no evidence that it affects child asthma risk or behavioral outcomes. (JEL J12, J13, C3)

Ancillary