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Do children of the first marriage deter divorce?

Héctor Bellido (), José Alberto Molina (), Anne Solaz () and Elena Stancanelli ()
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Elena Stancanelli: PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: In terms of economics, individuals divorce if their expected gains from marriage fall short of their expected utility outside the current marriage, and children represent a marriage-specific type of investment, which generally increases the value of marriage for the spouses. However, children may also disrupt marital stability as they will induce dramatic changes into the household allocation of money and time. In particular, children conceived before or after first marriage may be valued differently by the spouses and this may lead to marital conflicts. It is difficult to assign a priori the direction of the effect of children on marriage stability, and causality may run either way, as couples who anticipate a separation are more likely to have fewer children than those who are happy together, while children born before first marriage may be associated with a lower marriage attachment of their parents. Here, we follow an empirical approach and take advantage of the richness of the data on pre-marital history from the 24 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth79, to estimate the effect of children conceived before or after first marriage on marital stability. We find a significant deterrent effect of young children conceived during first marriage to the likelihood of divorce, while children conceived before first marriage are found to have a disruptive effect on marital stability.

Keywords: Family economics; Children; Divorce (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-06
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01299948
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Published in Economic Modelling, Elsevier, 2016, 55, pp.15-31. ⟨10.1016/j.econmod.2016.01.023⟩

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Working Paper: Do children of the first marriage deter divorce? (2016)
Working Paper: Do children of the first marriage deter divorce? (2016)
Working Paper: Do children of the first marriage deter divorce? (2016)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hal:pseose:hal-01299948

DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2016.01.023

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