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Can Rising Inequality Explain Aggregate Trends in Marriage? Evidence from U.S. States, 1977-2005

Listed author(s):
  • Coughlin Tristan P.

    ()

    (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

  • Drewianka Scott D

    ()

    (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)

Registered author(s):

    We investigate the hypothesis that rising wage inequality caused declines in the U.S. aggregate marriage hazard since 1970. Despite confirming previous findings that inequality accounts for much of the decline among young adults before 1990, we find that the aggregate marriage hazard became much less sensitive to inequality thereafter. Our explanation for the weakened relationship relies on the theoretical prediction, which we verify empirically, that inequality influences marital decisions of young singles much more than those of older singles. The aggregate marriage hazard thus became less responsive to inequality over this period because the unmarried population became older.

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    Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

    Volume (Year): 11 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 1-33

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    Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:3
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