Reassessing the link between premarital cohabitation and marital instability
- 829 Downloads
Premarital cohabitation has been found to be positively correlated with the likelihood of marital dissolution in the United States. To reassess this link, I estimate proportional hazard models of marital dissolution for first marriages by using pooled data from the 1988, 1995, and 2002 surveys of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). These results suggest that the positive relationship between premarital cohabitation and marital instability has weakened for more recent birth and marriage cohorts. Using multiple marital outcomes for a person to account for one source of unobserved heterogeneity, panel models suggest that cohabitation is not selective of individuals with higher risk of marital dissolution and may be a stabilizing factor for higher-order marriages. Further research with more recent data is needed to assess whether these results are statistical artifacts caused by data weaknesses in the NSFG.
KeywordsUnobserved Heterogeneity Marital Quality Marital Dissolution Marital Disruption Marital Stability
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Cherlin, A.J. 1992. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Revised and enlarged ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Cox, D.R. 1972. “Regression Models and Lifetables.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B 34(2): 187–220.Google Scholar
- De Vaus, D., L. Qu, and R. Weston. 2003. “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Instability.” Family Matters 65: 34–39.Google Scholar
- Moffitt, R.A. 2000. “Female Wages, Male Wages, and the Economic Model of Marriage: The Basic Evidence.” Pp. 302–19 in The Ties That Bind. Perspectives on Marriage and Cohabitation, edited by L.J. Waite. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). 2010. “Marriage and Cohabitation in the United States: A Statistical Portrait Based on Cycle 6 (2002) of the National Survey of Family Growth.” Vital and Health Statistics 23(28). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
- Reinhold, S. 2007. “Essays in Demographic Economics.” PhD thesis. Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
- -. 2009. “Reassessing the Link Between Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Instability.” MEA Discussion Papers, University of Mannheim.Google Scholar
- Song, X. 2001. “Labor Supply and Fertility Behaviors in Cohabitation and Marriage.” PhD thesis. Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
- —. 2005. “Two Tests of Divorce Behaviour on Danish Marriage Market Data.” Nationaløkonomisk Tidsskrift 143: 416–32.Google Scholar