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A Tale of Two Shares: The Relationship between the "Illegitimacy" Ratio and the Marriage Share

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  • Jo Anna Gray

    ()
    (University of Oregon Economics Department)

  • Jean Stockard

    ()
    (University of Oregon Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management)

  • Joe Stone

    ()
    (University of Oregon Economics Department)

Abstract

We develop a model of fertility and marriage that implies a magnified effect of marriage rates on the share of births to unmarried women. For U.S. data, plots and regression estimates support the prediction that the share of unmarried births is driven primarily by the square of the share of unmarried women. Our findings suggest that some of the emphasis on changes in fertility behavior in explaining the rising share of births to unmarried women might be productively redirected toward exploring the role and determinants of changes in marriage behavior. Moreover, previous studies of fertility behavior, to the extent that marital status is taken as given, may confound fertility and marriage behavior.

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File URL: http://economics.uoregon.edu/papers/UO-2004-16_Gray_Two_Shares.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oregon Economics Department in its series University of Oregon Economics Department Working Papers with number 2004-16.

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Length: 10
Date of creation: 01 Jun 2004
Date of revision: 01 Jun 2004
Handle: RePEc:ore:uoecwp:2004-16

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Postal: 1285 University of Oregon, 435 PLC, Eugene, OR 97403-1285
Phone: (541) 346-4661
Fax: (541) 346-1243
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Web page: http://economics.uoregon.edu/
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Keywords: fertility; illegitimacy ratio; marriage; non-marital births; non-marital fertility ratio;

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  1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  2. Jeff Grogger & Stephen G. Bronars, 2001. "The Effect of Welfare Payments on the Marriage and Fertility Behavior of Unwed Mothers: Results from a Twins Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 529-545, June.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  4. John Fitzgerald & David Ribar, 2004. "Welfare reform and female headship," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 189-212, May.
  5. Herbert Smith & S. Morgan & Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, 1996. "A decomposition of trends in the nonmarital fertility ratios of blacks and whites in the united states, 1960–1992," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 141-151, May.
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