Revisiting the breadwinner norm: The effect of the potential relative wage on married women’s labor supply. [Revise and resubmit at the Journal of Labor Economics] // [MANUSCRIPT]

In light of recent research suggestive of a male breadwinner norm, I use longitudinal and cross-sectional data on opposite-sex couples in the U.S. to examine the relationship between the probability that a wife earns more than her husband and her labor supply. I find that this relationship is positive when considering between-couple variation, but close to zero when considering within-couple variation. If the breadwinner norm has an impact, these results suggest it is at the margin of marital sorting rather than on couples’ behavior after marriage. This insight has implications for the targeting of policies to reduce gender inequality.

Public insurance and marital outcomes: Evidence from the ACA Medicaid expansions. [with Tom Potoms] [SLIDES] // [MANUSCRIPT]

In addition to love, marriage provides insurance. Public insurance programs for individuals decrease the relative insurance value of marriage. We explore how this tradeoff affects marriage in the context of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expan- sion in the United States. We show theoretically and empirically that while Medicaid expansion does decrease the marriage rate, it also reduces the divorce rate of new marriages, consistent with an increase in match quality. Moreover, it reduces the divorce rate of already-married couples, which we reconcile via the general equilib- rium effects on intra-household allocations. Finally, we show that these effects are observed broadly across the population, not only concentrated among individuals with low earnings potential. Taken together, our findings illustrate that even when public insurance reduces the monetary benefits of marriage, the effects on marriage overall may be positive and widespread.

Medicaid and fertility: The effect of eligibility on intended and unintended births. [Work-in-Progress]

Over a third of births in the United States are unintended, either unwanted or mistimed. Via the expansion of Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act expanded access to prescription contraception to millions of childless women of childbearing age at risk of unintended pregnancy. This expansion of contraception may reduce fertility, in particular unintended pregnancies. At the same time, coverage through Medicaid decreases the financial risk present when uninsured, which may lead to an increase intended births with less uncertainty. Using data from the American Community Survey and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, I estimate the effect of increased Medicaid coverage on the general fertility rate and on the rates of unintended and intended births.