Early Life Conditions, Marital Status, and Mortality
Sumedha Gupta, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute
Gerard G.J. van den Berg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Tinbergen Institute
We empirically analyze the impact of economic conditions early in life on the rate of getting married as well as the extent to which the protective effect of marriage on mortality depends on conditions early in life. This sheds light on the use of marriage as a compensatory device in case of adverse early-life conditions. We use exogenous indicators of early-life conditions and we allow for selectivity on unobservables, using a semi-parametric approach. The data cover 1815-2000. Conditions around birth as well as around the school ages are important for marital status and mortality. The results strikingly differ by gender. Men on average enjoy a protective effect of marriage on mortality, and this effect increases with age. Women born in economic booms gain from marriage during childbearing ages, but women born in recessions suffer a substantial negative effect on life expectancy during these years.
Presented in Session 75: Gender, Marriage and Mortality