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Marriage and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century

Author

Listed:
  • Alessio MORO

    (University of Cagliari)

  • Solmaz MOSLEHI

    (Monash University)

  • Satoshi TANAKA

    (University of Queensland and CAMA)

Abstract

There is an extensive literature discussing how individuals’ marriage behavior changes as a country develops. However, no existing data set allows an explicit investigation of the relationship between marriage and economic development. In this paper, we construct new cross-country panel data on marital statistics for 16 OECD countries from 1900 to 2000, in order to analyze such a relationship. We use this data set, together with cross-country data on real GDP per capita and the value added share of agriculture, manufacturing, and services sectors, to document two novel stylized facts. First, the fraction of a country’s population that is married displays a hump-shaped relationship with the level of real GDP per capita. Second, the fraction of the married correlates positively with the share of manufacturing in GDP. We conclude that the stage of economic development of a country is a key factor that affects individuals’ family formation decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessio MORO & Solmaz MOSLEHI & Satoshi TANAKA, 2017. "Marriage and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 379-420, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvde:v:83:y:2017:i:4:p:379-420
    DOI: 10.1017/dem.2017.18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "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 231-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alessio Moro & Solmaz Moslehi & Satoshi Tanaka, 2017. "Does Home Production Drive Structural Transformation?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 116-146, July.
    3. Michelle Rendall, 2010. "Brain versus Brawn: The Realization of Women's Comparative Advantage," 2010 Meeting Papers 926, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Chesnais, Jean-Claude, 1992. "The Demographic Transition: Stages, Patterns, and Economic Implications," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286592.
    5. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-157, July.
    6. Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Jacob Short & Ferdinando Regalia, 2010. "What Accounts for the Increase in the Number of Single Households?," 2010 Meeting Papers 995, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
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    Cited by:

    1. Jelnov, Pavel, 2019. "The Marriage Age U-Shape," IZA Discussion Papers 12356, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Jeanne Lafortune & Murat Iyigun, 2016. "Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles," Documentos de Trabajo 468, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage; Fraction of the married; Economic development; Structural transformation; Sectoral shares; Cross-country analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E23 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Production
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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