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Marriage Markets and Single Motherhood in South Africa

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  • Siv Gustafsson

    ()
    (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

  • Seble Y. Worku

    ()
    (Universiteit van Amsterdam)

Abstract

This paper studies the effects of local marriage markets on South African women’s marital decisions. The analysis is motivated by the low proportion of married among African mothers since 48% are never married. This means that the children of all these never married mothers have no access to their fathers' resources. The low sex ratio of 92 men to 100 women among Africans aged 20-40 makes us believe that shortage of marriageable men may explain marriage patterns. Economic theory predicts less attractive marital outcomes for women when the sex ratio is low. We analyze this hypothesis using the 2001 Census of South Africa. An ordered probit model is fitted with the different marital type ranked from less desirable (never married) to more attractive (married civil). The estimation results suggest that both the quantity and quality of marriageable men matter in the marital choice of women who have at least one child. Exposing African women to the White woman’s marriage market and the achievement of educational levels similar to those of Whites increase their probability of marriage by 8%, implying that only 44% of African women are expected to marry even given good marital opportunities and improved levels of education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 06-102/3.

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Date of creation: 20 Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20060102

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: local marriage market; sex ratio; marriageable men; ordered probit; African; White;

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  1. Avi Simhon & Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav, 2005. "The Mystery of Monogamy," 2005 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 370, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage And Labor Markets? Evidence From America'S Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038, August.
  3. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Arnstein Aassve, 2003. "The role of income in marriage and divorce transitions among young Americans," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 455-475, 08.
  4. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Jane Waldfogel, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Benefits on Single Motherhood and Headship of Young Women: Evidence from the Census," NBER Working Papers 9338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Siv Gustafsson, 2001. "Optimal age at motherhood. Theoretical and empirical considerations on postponement of maternity in Europe," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 225-247.
  6. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The effect of the U.S. welfare system on marital status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 101-124, February.
  7. Siv Gustafsson & Seble Worku, 2005. "Assortative Mating by Education and Postponement of Couple Formation and First Birth in Britain and Sweden," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 3(1), pages 91-113, November.
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