The effect of pregnancy in cohabiting unions on marriage in Canada, the Netherlands, and Latvia
Mills M., Trovato F.
Recently, the western world has witnessed among young cohorts a significant rise in both cohabitation and out of wedlock births as well as an increasingly complex relationship between marriage and childbirth. This study follows previous investigations conducted by Blossfeld and colleagues  on the experience of pregnancy within cohabiting unions and how it conditions the likelihood of transition to formal marriage with the same partners. A hazard model with time-varying covariates is specified explicitly as time-dependent, with entry into first marriage as the dependent process and first pregnancy/birth as the explaining process. Our conceptual framework relies on the rational actor theory, which proposes that norm-guided and rational self-centred behaviour co-exist in the case when a pregnancy occurs in a consensual union and a decision is to be made by the couple with respect to marriage or non-marriage. Our test of this interrelated process is based on the experiences of Canada, Latvia, and the Neth erlands. Findings suggest that the interdependencies of cohabitation, pregnancy, and marriage fit the model and are generally uniform processes across these societies. Slight country differences are attributed to attitudes and policies regarding cohabitation versus marriage and the acceptability of out of wedlock births.