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Does younger age at marriage affect divorce? Evidence from Johnson's Executive Order 11241

Martha Bailey (), Emily Beam () and Anna Wentz

Economic Inquiry, 2021, vol. 59, issue 3, 1328-1345

Abstract: Before President Johnson's Executive Order 11241 in August 1965, married men received lower draft priority for military service. As the Vietnam War escalated in the summer of 1965, anecdotal evidence suggests draft‐eligible men sought marriage to lower their likelihood of serving. This paper quantifies the effects of these Vietnam‐era policies on marriage and finds that they significantly reduced the age at first marriage and altered the choice of spouse. However, younger marriages induced by the war were less likely to result in divorce 15 years later. Evidence also suggests that these younger marriages had little effect on long‐term outcomes.

Date: 2021
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