Cover: A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption

A joint model of marital childbearing and marital disruption

Published 1993

by Lee A. Lillard, Linda Waite

Purchase Print Copy

Add to Cart Paperback45 pages Free

Married couples with children appear less likely to end their marriages than childless couples, especially when the children are young. Although this suggests that children affect the chances that their parents divorce, the process may not be this simple. The chances that the marriage will last may also affect couples' willingness to make the commitment to the marriage implied by having children. This paper uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to test the hypothesis that the risk of disruption faced by a married woman affects the chances that she conceives and bears a child. The model used takes into account the simultaneous relationships between marital dissolution and marital fertility by including the hazard of disruption as a predictor of timing and likelihood of marital conception, and by including the results of previous fertility decisions as predictors of disruption of the marriage. The authors find that the hazard of disruption has strong, negative effects on the hazard of marital childbearing, lengthening the intervals between births and decreasing the chances that a child is born. This effect appears strongest for women who have had at least one child, either before the current marriage or during it, although it is also large for childless women. Explicitly including the hazard of disruption in models of marital childbearing has sizable and important effects on many predictors of fertility.

This report is part of the RAND draft series. The unrestricted draft was a product of RAND from 1993 to 2003 that represented preliminary or prepublication versions of other more formal RAND products for distribution to appropriate external audiences. The draft could be considered similar to an academic discussion paper. Although unrestricted drafts had been approved for circulation, they were not usually formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.