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When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage Market Value of Young Men

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  • David Autor
  • David Dorn
  • Gordon Hanson

Abstract

We exploit the gender-specific components of large-scale labor demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the relative economic stature of young men versus young women affected marriage, fertility, and children's living circumstances during 1990–2014. On average, trade shocks differentially reduce employment and earnings of young adult males. Consistent with Becker's model of household specialization, shocks to males' relative earnings reduce marriage and fertility. Consistent with prominent sociological accounts, these shocks heighten male idleness and premature mortality, and raise the share of mothers who are unwed and the share of children living in below-poverty, single-headed households.

Suggested Citation

  • David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon Hanson, 2019. "When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage Market Value of Young Men," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 161-178, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aerins:v:1:y:2019:i:2:p:161-78
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20180010
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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