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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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15725.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15725

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  1. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2008. "Transitions: Career and Family Life Cycles of the Educational Elite," Scholarly Articles 2799055, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. David S. Loughran & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2007. "Why Wait? The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women," Working Papers 482-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," NBER Working Papers 12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz & Ilyana Kuziemko, 2006. "The Homecoming of American College Women: The Reversal of the College Gender Gap," NBER Working Papers 12139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2006. "Measuring trends in leisure: the allocation of time over five decades," Working Papers 06-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  8. Betsey Stevenson, 2006. "The impact of divorce laws on marriage-specific capital," Working Paper Series 2006-43, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert A. Pollak, 2005. "Bargaining Power in Marriage: Earnings, Wage Rates and Household Production," NBER Working Papers 11239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Samuel H. Preston & Caroline Sten Hartnett, 2008. "The Future of American Fertility," NBER Working Papers 14498, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Powdthavee, Nattavudh & Adireksombat, Kampon, 2010. "From Classroom to Wedding Aisle: The Effect of a Nationwide Change in the Compulsory Schooling Law on Age at First Marriage in the UK," IZA Discussion Papers 5019, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2008. "Happiness Inequality in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 3624, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2009. "The paradox of declining female happiness," Working Paper Series 2009-11, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. 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.
  6. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Delia Furtado and Miriam Marcen, 2010. "Does Culture Affect Divorce Decisions? Evidence from European Immigrants in the US," Economics Series Working Papers 495, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  7. Justin Wolfers, 2009. "Comment on "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 291-309 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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