Shoshana Grossbard

This article analyzes choice between marital and non-marital childbearing based on a conceptual model that considers the repercussions of marriage laws for the individual wellbeing of women and men living in couples. Childbearing responses to changes in three marriage laws are evaluated: (1) the annulment of coverture laws in the second half of the 19th Century and the first part of the 20th Century; (2) a switch in legal regime used to attribute marital property (from a British system generally less protective of the property rights of lower-earning spouses to a regime of community property), and (3) changes in the availability of Common law marriage in addition to regular marriage. The model is based on a WIHO (Work-In-Household) model and assumes that individual women and men make decisions regarding production and reproduction.

Publication Type
Working Paper
File Description
First version, February 1, 2023
JEL Codes
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J13: Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
K36: Family and Personal Law
marital and non-marital childbearing
coverture laws
common law marriage