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A Simplified Indicator of Social Well-Being in the United States: Examining the Ecological Impact of Family Formation within a County Level Framework

  • Jeremy Porter

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    In 1995, a study entitled “Does Marriage Matter?” was published by Linda Waite in the journal of Demography, which was concerned with the direction of such causal relationships. While Waite’s examination of the causal relationships associated with marriage, and most other analyses of this type, is primarily concerned with the individual level effects of marriage on a variety of outcomes, little is understood concerning the ecological effect of community marriage rates on levels of aggregate well-being. This study aims to contribute to this gap through the implementation of a recent conceptualization of social well-being as a multi-dimensional measure incorporating both biological, operationalized as average life expectancy, and social phenomena, operationalized as, community level crime rates (Raphael, Making the links: what do health promotion, crime prevention, and social development have in common? in 2004 ). It is important to understand such aggregate level effects in the face of the existing literature, which relies heavily on relational associations which could be subject to ecological fallacy. Analytic techniques incorporate Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis and spatial regression techniques, due to the high existence of spatial autocorrelation often evident in census data, as a way of understanding the effect of the aggregate level marriage rate on the constructed social well being indicator. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11205-011-9884-8
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

    Volume (Year): 108 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 3 (September)
    Pages: 421-440

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:108:y:2012:i:3:p:421-440
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    1. Thiess Buettner, 2003. "Local Determinants of Crime: Distinguishing Between Resident and Non-resident Offenders," ERSA conference papers ersa03p396, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Lloyd Potter, 1991. "Socioeconomic Determinants of White and Black Males’ Life Expectancy Differentials, 1980," Demography, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 303-321, May.
    3. Luc Anselin, 2001. "Spatial Effects in Econometric Practice in Environmental and Resource Economics," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(3), pages 705-710.
    4. Porter, Jeremy R. & Purser, Christopher W., 2010. "Social disorganization, marriage, and reported crime: A spatial econometrics examination of family formation and criminal offending," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 942-950, September.
    5. Paul Voss & David Long & Roger Hammer & Samantha Friedman, 2006. "County child poverty rates in the US: a spatial regression approach," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 369-391, August.
    6. Lo, Celia C. & Zhong, Hua, 2006. "Linking crime rates to relationship factors: The use of gender-specific data," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 317-329.
    7. Anselin, Luc, 2002. "Under the hood Issues in the specification and interpretation of spatial regression models," Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 27(3), November.
    8. Anselin, Luc, 2002. "Under the hood : Issues in the specification and interpretation of spatial regression models," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 247-267, November.
    9. Linda Waite, 1995. "Does marriage matter?," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 483-507, November.
    10. Manzoli, Lamberto & Villari, Paolo & M Pirone, Giovanni & Boccia, Antonio, 2007. "Marital status and mortality in the elderly: A systematic review and meta-analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 77-94, January.
    11. Linda J. Waite & Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2003. "The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 255-275.
    12. Noreen Goldman, 1993. "Marriage selection and mortality patterns: Inferences and fallacies," Demography, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 189-208, May.
    13. Thomas de Graaff & Raymond J.C.M. Florax & Peter Nijkamp & Aura Reggiani, 2001. "A General Misspecification Test for Spatial Regression Models: Dependence, Heterogeneity, and Nonlinearity," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 255-276.
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