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Impact of Changes in Marriage Law: Implications for Fertility and School Enrollment

Impact of Changes in Marriage Law: Implications for Fertility and School Enrollment <p>Does the postponement of marriage affect fertility and investment in human capital? I study this question in the context of a 1957 amendment to the Mississippi marriage law that was aimed at delaying the age of marriage; changes included raising the minimum age for men and women, parental consent requirements, compulsory blood tests, and proof of age. Using a difference-indifferences design at the county level, I find that, overall, marriages per 1,000 in the population in Mississippi and its neighboring counties decreased by nearly 75 percent; the crude birth rate decreased between 2 and 6 percent; and school enrollment increased by 3 percent after the law was enacted (by 1960). An unintended consequence of the law change was that illegitimate births among young black mothers increased by 7 percent. I show that changes in labor market conditions during this period cannot explain the changes in marriages, births, and enrollment. I conclude that stricter marriage-related regulations that lead to a delay in marriage can postpone fertility and increase school enrollment.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Human Resources University of Wisconsin Press

Impact of Changes in Marriage Law: Implications for Fertility and School Enrollment

Journal of Human Resources , Volume 50 (3) – Aug 9, 2015

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
©by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
ISSN
1548-8004

Abstract

<p>Does the postponement of marriage affect fertility and investment in human capital? I study this question in the context of a 1957 amendment to the Mississippi marriage law that was aimed at delaying the age of marriage; changes included raising the minimum age for men and women, parental consent requirements, compulsory blood tests, and proof of age. Using a difference-indifferences design at the county level, I find that, overall, marriages per 1,000 in the population in Mississippi and its neighboring counties decreased by nearly 75 percent; the crude birth rate decreased between 2 and 6 percent; and school enrollment increased by 3 percent after the law was enacted (by 1960). An unintended consequence of the law change was that illegitimate births among young black mothers increased by 7 percent. I show that changes in labor market conditions during this period cannot explain the changes in marriages, births, and enrollment. I conclude that stricter marriage-related regulations that lead to a delay in marriage can postpone fertility and increase school enrollment.</p>

Journal

Journal of Human ResourcesUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Aug 9, 2015

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