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How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation

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  • Angrist, Joshua

    ()
    (MIT)

Abstract

Sex ratios, i.e., relative numbers of men and women, can affect marriage prospects, labor force participation, and other social and economic variables. But the observed association between sex ratios and social and economic conditions may be confounded by omitted variables and reverse causality. This paper uses variation in immigrant flows as a natural experiment to study the effect of sex ratios on the children and grandchildren of immigrants. The flow of immigrants affected the second generation marriage market because second generation marriages were mostly endogamous, i.e., to members of the same ethnic group. The empirical results suggest that high sex ratios had a large positive effect on the likelihood of female marriage, and a large negative effect on female labor force participation. Perhaps surprisingly, the marriage rates of second generation men appear to be a slightly increasing function of immigrant sex ratios. Higher sex ratios also appear to have raised male earnings and the incomes of parents with young children. The empirical results are broadly consistent with theories where higher sex ratios increase female bargaining power in the marriage market.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 368.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2002, 117 (3), 997-1038
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp368

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Keywords: family structure; Household and family models; immigration;

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  1. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1984. "A Theory of Allocation of Time in Markets for Labour and Marriage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 863-82, December.
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  6. Josh Angrist, 2000. "Consequences of Imbalanced Sex Ratios: Evidence from America's Second Generation," NBER Working Papers 8042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Walter F. Willcox, 1931. "Immigration into the United States," NBER Chapters, in: International Migrations, Volume II: Interpretations, pages 83-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Michael R. Haines, 1996. "Long Term Marriage Patterns in the United States from Colonial Times tothe Present," NBER Historical Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc 0080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Chiswick, Barry R, 1977. "Sons of Immigrants: Are They at an Earnings Disadvantage?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 67(1), pages 376-80, February.
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  13. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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