Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Economics: Applied Economics

Committee Chair

Timothy Harris


This paper examines the effect of being born outside of marriage (BOOM) on the future outcomes of individuals. I use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) individual-level data to follow individuals from birth to age 30 and analyze the effect of being born outside of marriage on future marital status, education level, and poverty status. I find statistically significant impacts of BOOM on future outcomes, though additional childhood controls lessen the effect. I then use arguably exogenous variation from the marital status of an individual’s grandmother at the time of their mother’s birth to instrument for external factors that may affect non-marital births. I find relatively weak evidence of intergenerational transmission of BOOM status as a mother's BOOM status increases the likelihood of their child being BOOM by 7.4 percentage points. Still, the results should be interpreted with caution.


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