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Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?


In this paper, we study the relationship between fertility behavior and the process of relationship duration. The potential endogeneity of fertility on dissolution risk is taken into account by modeling fertility and dissolution jointly. We apply the timing-of-event method (Abbring and van den Berg, Econometrica 71(5):1491–1517, 2003) to identify the causal effect of births on the dissolution hazard. We show that couples who are less prone to split up are more prone to invest in children, and therefore, one might (mistakenly) conclude that children stabilize relationships. However, when correcting for the selectivity bias arising from the fertility decision, we conclude that children themselves have a negative effect on relationship duration.

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Correspondence to Michael Svarer.

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Responsible editor Deborah Cobb-Clark

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Svarer, M., Verner, M. Do children stabilize relationships in Denmark?. J Popul Econ 21, 395–417 (2008).

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  • Marriage
  • Cohabitation
  • Dissolution
  • Children

JEL Classification

  • J12
  • C3