July 15, 2014
The dynamic evolution of health and persistent relationship status pose econometric challenges to disentangling the causal effect of relationships on health from the selection effect of health on relationship choice. Using a new econometric strategy we find that marriage is not universally better for health. Rather, cohabitation benefits the health of men and women over 45, being never married is no worse for health, and only divorce marginally harms the health of younger men. We find strong evidence that unobservable health-related factors can confound estimates. Our method can be applied to other research questions with dynamic dependent and multivariate endogenous variables.
Journal of Health Economics
Volume and page numbers
Volume: 36 , p.69 -83
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