It has long been debated how legalizing same-sex marriage would affect (different-sex) family formation. In this article, I use data on OECD member countries for the period 1980–2009 to examine the effects of the legal recognition of same-sex couples (through marriage or an alternative institution) on different-sex marriage, divorce, and extramarital births. Estimates from difference-in-difference models indicate that the introduction of same-sex marriage or of alternative institutions has no negative effects on family formation. These findings are robust to a multitude of specification checks, including the construction of counterfactuals using the synthetic control method. In addition, the country-by-country case studies provide evidence of homogeneity of the estimated effects.

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