Changing the Price of Marriage: Evidence from Blood Test Requirements


We use state repeals of blood test requirements (BTRs) for a marriage license that occurred between 1980 and 2008 to examine the impact of changes in the price of marriage on the marriage decision. Using a within-group estimator that holds constant state and year effects and exploits variation in the repeal dates of BTRs across states, we find that BTRs are associated with a 6.1 percent decrease in marriage licenses issued by a state. This main finding is supported with results from individual-level marriage license and Current Population Survey data. The largest effects are found for lower socioeconomic groups.