IFS says no rationale for encouraging marriage

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) have released the findings of their detailed study on cohabitation, marriage, relationship stability and child outcomes. Contrary to reporting in the Daily Mail and in a blow to David Cameron and the marriage tax allowance they find that there is no justification for policies to encourage marriage. The IFS conclude: “Overall, our findings suggest that the differences in relationship stability between cohabiting and married parents, and the cognitive and non-cognitive skills and behaviours of their children, mainly or entirely reflect the fact that different types of people choose to get married (the selection effect), rather than that marriage has a direct positive causal effect on relationship stability or children’s outcomes. On the basis of this evidence, therefore, there does not seem to be a strong rationale for policies that seek to encourage couples to get married, at least not if the aim is to increase these measures of relationship stability or child development.”

The full report is available from http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/6908