Pre-Marital Birth, Marriage, and Welfare

Jose J. Canals-Cerda, University of Colorado at Boulder

This paper investigates the transition into premarital birth or marriage for a sample of young women from the NLSY. Overall, welfare has a significant effect on a woman's decision to marry and an insignificant effect on an unmarried woman's fertility decision. We find the strongest welfare effect on the likelihood of marriage among disadvantaged women, and the strongest positive effect of welfare on fertility among hispanic women. Most of the observed differences in behavior between white women and disadvantaged women are the result of differences in endowments. The women that experience a premarital birth are characterized by a high probability of fertility and low marital prospects over their teen years.

  See paper

Presented in Session 83: Non-Marital Fertility