This article argues that marriage and cohabitation are associated with important differences in work patterns, earnings, treatment of money, use of leisure time, social relations with the extended family, the division of household labor, and fertility. We hypothesize that these differences lead those considering the formation of a household to consider their attitudes toward these aspects of life, which appear to be so different in marriage from those in cohabitation. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, we test and find support for the hypothesis that the choice between cohabitation and marriage is affected by attitudes and values toward work, family, use of leisure time, money, and sex roles, as well as values and attitudes toward marriage itself.
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