Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements

44 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2009 Last revised: 11 Aug 2009

See all articles by Kasey Buckles

Kasey Buckles

University of Notre Dame - Department of Economics

Melanie Guldi

University of Central Florida - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics; Mount Holyoke College - Department of Economics

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University

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Date Written: July 2009

Abstract

We use state repeals of blood test requirements for a marriage license that occurred between 1980 and 2005 to examine the impact of changes in the price of marriage on the marriage decision. Using a within-group estimator that holds constant state and year effects and exploits variation in the repeal dates of BTRs across states, we find that BTRs are associated with a 5.7% decrease in marriage licenses issued by a state. Using individual-level marriage license data from 1981-1995, we find that about half of this effect is due to couples seeking marriage licenses in other states, with the other half is due to deterred marriages. We also examine the marital status of mothers using birth certificate and Current Population Survey data, and find that blood test requirements reduce the fraction of first-time mothers who are married at the time of birth. The marriage-deterrent effects of BTRs are larger for lower socio-economic groups.

Suggested Citation

Buckles, Kasey and Guldi, Melanie and Price, Joseph, Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements (July 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15161, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1435599

Kasey Buckles (Contact Author)

University of Notre Dame - Department of Economics ( email )

Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

Melanie Guldi

University of Central Florida - College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

Mount Holyoke College - Department of Economics ( email )

South Hadley, MA 01075
United States

Joseph Price

Brigham Young University ( email )

130 FOB
Provo, UT 84604
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://economics.byu.edu/directory/joseph-p-price

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