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“Shotgun” Marriages and Relationship Outcomes
Unformatted Document Text:  “Shotgun” Marriages and Relationship Outcomes Abstract: Although marriages during pregnancy have become less common, pregnancy continues to act as a catalyst for marriage for some couples. Current Federal policies aim to increase marriages during pregnancy, which are colloquially referred to as “shotgun marriages.” Our paper uses data from Fragile Families and the National Survey of Families and Households to compare the characteristics, relationship quality, and stability of three groups of couples: those that married before conception, shotgun marriage couples, and couples with a nonmarital birth. Using propensity score matching techniques, we intend to show the extent to which differences across these three groups of parents in relationship quality and stability are the result of selection. Our preliminary results suggest that (a) shotgun couples occupy an intermediate position between other married and unmarried couples in terms of demographic characteristics and relationship quality and outcomes, and (b) shotgun couples and couples that have a nonmarital birth are similar in their relationship quality and differences in their stability are reduced by one-half after selection is taken into account using propensity score matching techniques.

Authors: Knab, Jean.
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“Shotgun” Marriages and Relationship Outcomes
Abstract: Although marriages during pregnancy have become less common, pregnancy
continues to act as a catalyst for marriage for some couples. Current Federal policies aim
to increase marriages during pregnancy, which are colloquially referred to as “shotgun
marriages.” Our paper uses data from Fragile Families and the National Survey of
Families and Households to compare the characteristics, relationship quality, and stability
of three groups of couples: those that married before conception, shotgun marriage
couples, and couples with a nonmarital birth. Using propensity score matching
techniques, we intend to show the extent to which differences across these three groups
of parents in relationship quality and stability are the result of selection. Our preliminary
results suggest that (a) shotgun couples occupy an intermediate position between other
married and unmarried couples in terms of demographic characteristics and relationship
quality and outcomes, and (b) shotgun couples and couples that have a nonmarital birth
are similar in their relationship quality and differences in their stability are reduced by
one-half after selection is taken into account using propensity score matching techniques.


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