Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions
Using the 1970, 1980 1990 Censuses, the authors investigate the impact of labor and marriage market conditions on the incidence of marriage of young women (age 16â€“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 specific to each MSA. Better female labor markets, worse female marriage markets worse male labor markets are found to lower marriage rates fr 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 (25â€“34). While welfare benefits have a negative effect in cross-sectional analyses, the association becomes considerably weaker in fixed effects specifications.
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