Does child health affects the stability of families? A new GLO Discussion Paper shows that family structure variables, such as marriage duration, age when last married, the probability of getting divorced, the probability of getting married and the presence of a spouse/partners in the household, experience a notorious trend break over the life cycle when women have babies in their early forties. It hypothesizes that the observed facts are driven by a significant increase in the risk of having a child with health problems when women enter the last decade of their reproductive life.
GLO Discussion Paper No. 354, 2019
GLO Fellows Federico H. Gutierrez
Author Abstract: Family structure is usually believed to affect children’s human capital. Is it possible that causality goes in the opposite direction? This paper shows that the behavior of family structure variables over the life cycle dramatically changes when women have babies in their forties. These data regularities align with a significant increase in the risk of having a child with health problems when women enter the last decade of their reproductive life. I present a simple theoretical model that provides a common underlying explanation for the data patterns and generates additional testable implications and apply it to data.
GLO Discussion Papers are research and policy papers of the GLO Network which are widely circulated to encourage discussion. Provided in cooperation with EconStor, a service of the ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, GLO Discussion Papers are among others listed in RePEc (see IDEAS, EconPapers). Complete list of all GLO DPs downloadable for free.