The Long-Term Consequences of Having Children with More than One Man: Assessing Women’s Wages, Depression and Physical Health at Midlife

Cassandra J. Dorius, University of Michigan

The last thirty years have witnessed increasing social and economic inequality among American families. In the discourse about causal mechanisms behind these patterns, the ways families form and dissolve has proven integral, with children brought up by two biological parents advantaged relative to all others. Because children are most commonly raised by mothers after a relationship dissolution, exploring women’s relationship and childbearing histories provides unique insights into the family processes that may affect women’s and children’s access to socioeconomic resources. This paper explores how having children with more than one person (MPF) may influence the creation and perpetuation of family-level inequalities by reducing women’s economic, metal, and physical well-being over time. A potential outcomes approach with propensity scores weights is used to address these questions while controlling for selection into this family form. Preliminary findings suggest MPF may exacerbate mental and physical health disparities at age 40, but not wages.

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Presented in Session 40: Unions and Health