The Effect of Younger Marriage on Marriage Stability: Evidence from Exogenous Changes in Vietnam Draft Prioritization

Martha Bailey, University of Michigan
Emily Beam, University of Michigan

The escalation of the Vietnam War left young men few possible, legal options for avoiding service. One popular and understudied strategy for avoiding the draft was fathering a child. In fact, dependency deferments outnumbered student deferment at the rate of three to one by December 1970. Using Vital Statistics data on fertility and marriage rates, we examine the impact of draft policy on the age at first marriage and age-specific fertility rates. We then use the 1970 and 1980 Integrated Public Use Microdata Series of the U.S. Census to examine the impact of earlier fertility and marriage on the duration of first marriage and the probability of divorce, the total number of children born, as well as men’s and women's education and wages, total household income and poverty status.

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Presented in Session 94: Multiple Contexts of Union Formation