Marital Status, Spousal Characteristics, and the Use of Preventive Care
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In this article, we investigated the effects of marriage and spousal characteristics on the use of preventive care. We accounted for the endogeneity of marriage by combining propensity score estimation techniques with marriage transitions observed in longitudinal data. Results indicated that marriage increases the probability of dental check-ups and physical examinations for both sexes and mammograms and Pap smears for women. Next, we examined whether spousal characteristics affect the use of preventive care. Spousal education, income, health conditions, and preferences for risk and health care all affected use of preventive care in expected directions. Taken together, we conclude that marriage increases the use of preventive care; however, the net marital effect masks a heterogeneity that results from the characteristics of the spouse an individual marries.
KeywordsMarriage Preventive care Endogeneity Propensity scores
We wish to thank anonymous referees, participants in the economics seminar at Lehigh University and Jessica Vistnes and for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript.
The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and no official endorsement by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, or the Department of Health and Human Services is intended or should be inferred.
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