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Understanding young women's marriage decisions: The role of labor and marriage market conditions

  • Francine D. Blau
  • Lawrence M. Kahn
  • Jane Waldfogel

Using the 1970, 1980, and 1990 Censuses, the authors investigate the impact of labor and marriage market conditions on the incidence of marriage of young women (age 16-24). They first estimate the effects on marriage of personal characteristics and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) indicators, separately by race and education group. They then regress the first-stage MSA effects on MSA-level labor and marriage market conditions and welfare benefits, taking account of fixed effects and time trends special to each MSA. Better female labor markets, worse female marriage markets, and worse male labor markets are found to lower marriage rates for whites in all education groups. Results for these variables for blacks are sensitive to estimation technique, although stronger results are obtained for an older age group (25-34). While welfare benefits have a negative effect in cross-sectional analyses, the association becomes considerably weaker in fixed effects specifications. (Author's abstract.)

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Article provided by ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School in its journal ILR Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 624-647

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Handle: RePEc:ilr:articl:v:53:y:2000:i:4:p:624-647
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, December.
  2. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1, December.
  3. H. W. Hoynes, . "Does welfare play any role in female headship decisions?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1078-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. Bound, John & Holzer, Harry J, 1993. "Industrial Shifts, Skills Levels, and the Labor Market for White and Black Males," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 387-96, August.
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  6. R. A. Moffitt, . "The Effect of Welfare on Marriage and Fertility: What Do We Know and What Do We Need to Know?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1153-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  7. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S111-43, June.
  8. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  9. Timothy J. Bartik, . "Who Benefits from Local Job Growth: Migrants or Original Residents?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1993rs, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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  11. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
  12. Scott South & Kim Lloyd, 1992. "Marriage markets and nonmarital fertility in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 247-264, May.
  13. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  14. Ellwood, David T & Crane, Jonathan, 1990. "Family Change among Black Americans: What Do We Know?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 65-84, Fall.
  15. Schultz, T.P., 1993. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Papers 703, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  16. Rebecca Blank, 1995. "Teen pregnancy: government programs are not the cause," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 47-58.
  17. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lynn White, 1981. "A note on racial differences in the effecty of female economic opportunity on marriage rates," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 349-354, August.
  19. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  20. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The effect of the U.S. welfare system on marital status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 101-124, February.
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