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Health and Marriage: Selection, Protection, and Assortative Mating

Version
1
Resource Type
Dataset
Creator
  • Guner, Nezih (CEMFI)
  • Kulikova, Yuliya (Bank of Spain)
  • Llull, Joan (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, MOVE, and Barcelona GSE)
Publication Date
2018-01-03
Free Keywords
PSID
Description
  • Abstract

    Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we analyze the health gap between married and unmarried individuals of working-age. Controlling for observables, we find a gap that peaks at 10 percentage points at ages 55-59 years. The marriage health gap is similar for men and women. If we allow for unobserved heterogeneity in innate health (permanent and age-dependent), potentially correlated with timing and likelihood of marriage, we find that the effect of marriage on health disappears below age 40 years, while about 5~percentage points difference between married~and unmarried individuals remains at older ages (55-59 years). This~indicates that the observed gap is mainly driven by selection into marriage at younger ages, but there might be a protective effect of marriage at older ages. Exploring the mechanisms behind this result, we find that better innate health is associated with a higher probability of marriage and a lower probability of divorce, and there is strong assortative mating among couples by innate health. We also find that married individuals are more likely to have a healthier behavior compared to unmarried ones. Finally, we find that health insurance is critical for the beneficial effect of marriage.

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Update Metadata: 2018-02-21 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2018-02-21

Guner, Nezih; Kulikova, Yuliya; Llull, Joan (2018): Health and Marriage: Selection, Protection, and Assortative Mating. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.3886/E101423V1