Common Law Marriage and Teen Births

23 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2015

See all articles by Shoshana Amyra Grossbard

Shoshana Amyra Grossbard

San Diego State University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Victoria Vernon

State University of New York - Empire State College

Abstract

Using microdata from Current Population Survey Fertility supplements 1990-2010 we examine whether Common Law Marriage (CLM) laws in the US affect teen birth rates. CLM effects are identified through cross-state and time variation, as four states repealed the law over the period of study. We find that in the states where CLM laws were first available but then repealed the odds that teens would become new mothers increased, with a larger increase among young black teens. When we include dummies for CLM at various times around the timing of the repeal, it turns out that the likelihood of becoming a mother is most affected by availability of CLM between 1 and 4 years prior to the repeal. There is a small negative effect of CLM on older women becoming mothers. To the extent that they reduce teen births CLM laws are socially desirable and worthy of further study.

Keywords: fertility, Common-Law marriage, teens

JEL Classification: J12, J13, K36

Suggested Citation

Grossbard, Shoshana and Vernon, Victoria, Common Law Marriage and Teen Births. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9198, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2655147

Shoshana Grossbard (Contact Author)

San Diego State University - Department of Economics ( email )

5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Victoria Vernon

State University of New York - Empire State College ( email )

325 Hudston st, office 525
New York, NY 10013
United States

HOME PAGE: http://vvernon.sunyempirefaculty.net

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