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The Relationship Between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood

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  • Derek Neal

Abstract

Many studies document a clear relationship between the supply of marriageable men and marriage rates, but few studies find that the supply of marriageable men affects the number of women who choose to be single mothers. The model presented here addresses this puzzle. Many women view either marriage or single motherhood as an inframarginal choice because a third option, remaining single without children, is relatively attractive to them. Regression models that implicitly treat all women as potential mothers, who simply choose whether to raise children inside or outside marriage, may yield false inferences concerning the relationship between marriage markets prospects and family structure choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Derek Neal, 2004. "The Relationship Between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(4).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:4:p938-957
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael J. Brien, 1997. "Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 741-778.
    2. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Cornes, Richard C, 1983. "Independence of Allocative Efficiency from Distribution in the Theory of Public Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1753-1765, November.
    3. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
    4. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
    5. Robert G. Wood, 1995. "Marriage Rates and Marriageable Men: A Test of the Wilson Hypothesis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 163-193.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gray, Joanna & Stockard, Jean & Stone, Joe, 2010. "A birth-cohort test of the wilson willis model of nonmarital fertility," MPRA Paper 22538, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. 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.
    3. Elaina Rose & Ho-Po Crystal Wong, 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," Working Papers 14-30, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    4. Keith Finlay & David Neumark, 2010. "Is Marriage Always Good for Children?: Evidence from Families Affected by Incarceration," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 1046-1088.
    5. Gonzalez, Libertad, 2005. "The Determinants of the Prevalence of Single Mothers: A Cross-Country Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1677, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Lafortune, Jeanne & Low, Corinne, 2017. "Betting the House: How Assets Influence Marriage Selection, Marital Stability, and Child Investments," IZA Discussion Papers 11176, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Oreffice, Sonia, 2014. "Season of Birth and Marital Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 8348, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Avner Ahituv & Robert Lerman, 2007. "How do marital status, work effort, and wage rates interact?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(3), pages 623-647, August.
    9. John Knowles & John Kennes, 2011. "Marriage, Fertility and Step-Families: An Equilibrium Analysis," 2011 Meeting Papers 227, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Brian Junker & Lynne Schofield & Lowell Taylor, 2012. "The use of cognitive ability measures as explanatory variables in regression analysis," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 1(1), pages 1-19, December.
    11. Rose, Elaina & Wong, Crystal (Ho Po), 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 8611, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert, 2013. "Cohabitation and the Uneven Retreat from Marriage in the U.S., 1950-2010," IZA Discussion Papers 7607, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Patacchini, Eleonora & Zenou, Yves, 2007. "The Racial Test Score Gap and Parental Involvement in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 2613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Gonzalez, Libertad, 2007. "The effect of benefits on single motherhood in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 393-412, June.
    15. Candace Hamilton Hester & Chris Meyer & Steven Raphael, 2012. "The Evolution of Gender Employment Rate Differentials within Racial Groups in the United States," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 385-418.
    16. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2014. "Cohabitation and the Uneven Retreat from Marriage in the United States, 1950–2010," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital in History: The American Record, pages 241-272 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Stefan Bauernschuster & Rainald Borck, 2012. "The Effect of Child Care on Family Structure: Theory and Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 3763, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Neal, Derek, 2006. "Why Has Black-White Skill Convergence Stopped?," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    19. Stéphane Mechoulan, 2011. "The External Effects of Black Male Incarceration onBlack Females," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-35, January.
    20. Jinyoung Kim, 2010. "Diversification in Children," Discussion Paper Series 1002, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    21. Maya Rossin-Slater & Miriam Wüst, 2016. "Parental Responses to Child Support Obligations: Evidence from Administrative Data," NBER Working Papers 22227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Raphael, Steven, 2009. "International Migration, Sex Ratios, and the Socioeconomic Outcomes of Non-migrant Mexican Women," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt93s880fs, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    23. Tie-Ying Liu & Hsu-Ling Chang & Chi-Wei Su, 2017. "Why do People Get Married? An Inframarginal Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 1281-1295, February.

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