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Women's Education and Family Behavior: Trends in Marriage, Divorce and Fertility

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  • Adam Isen
  • Betsey Stevenson

Abstract

This paper examines how marital and fertility patterns have changed along racial and educational lines for men and women. Historically, women with more education have been the least likely to marry and have children, but this marriage gap has eroded as the returns to marriage have changed. Marriage and remarriage rates have risen for women with a college degree relative to women with fewer years of education. However, the patterns of, and reasons for, marriage have changed. College educated women marry later, have fewer children, are less likely to view marriage as “financial security”, are happier in their marriages and with their family life, and are not only the least likely to divorce, but have had the biggest decrease in divorce since the 1970s compared to women without a college degree. In contrast, there have been fewer changes in marital patterns by education for men.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-02/cesifo1_wp2940.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2940.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2940

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Keywords: marriage; divorce; fertility; education;

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References

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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 27-52, Spring.
  2. Robert A. Pollak, 2005. "Bargaining Power in Marriage: Earnings, Wage Rates and Household Production," NBER Working Papers 11239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 133-156, Fall.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 329-333, May.
  5. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2008. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 14498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Betsey Stevenson, 2006. "The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital," Working Paper Series 2006-43, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring Trends in Leisure: The Allocation of Time Over Five Decades," NBER Working Papers 12082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
  10. David S. Loughran & Julie M. Zissimopoulos, 2009. "Why Wait?: The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  11. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2008. "Transitions: Career and Family Life Cycles of the Educational Elite," Scholarly Articles 2799055, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2009. "The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness," NBER Working Papers 14969, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.
  4. Gray, Joanna & Stockard, Jean & Stone, Joe, 2010. "A birth-cohort test of the wilson willis model of nonmarital fertility," MPRA Paper 22538, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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