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“Why Not Settle Down Already?” A Quantitative Analysis Of The Delay In Marriage

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  • Cezar Santos
  • David Weiss

Abstract

A striking change in American society in the last 40 years has been the decline and delay in marriage. The fraction of young adults who have never been married increased significantly between 1970 and 2000. Idiosyncratic labor income volatility also rose. We establish a quantitatively important link between these facts. If marriage involves consumption commitments, then a rise in income volatility delays marriage. We quantitatively assess this hypothesis vis‐à‐vis others in the literature. Increased volatility accounts for about 20% of the observed delay in marriage and is strong relative to other mechanisms.

Suggested Citation

  • Cezar Santos & David Weiss, 2016. "“Why Not Settle Down Already?” A Quantitative Analysis Of The Delay In Marriage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57, pages 425-452, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:57:y:2016:i::p:425-452
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/iere.12163
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    8. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877.
    9. McGrattan, Ellen R & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1997. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle with Household Production and Fiscal Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 267-290, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nawid Siassi, 2019. "Inequality and the Marriage Gap," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 160-181, January.
    2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2019. "The Wife's Protector: The Effect of Contraception on Marriage during the 20th Century," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 31, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    3. Marcel Fischer & Natalia Khorunzhina, 2019. "Housing Decision With Divorce Risk," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1263-1290, August.
    4. repec:kea:keappr:ker-20180101-34-1-05 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nezih Guner & Christopher Rauh & Elizabeth Caucutt, 2017. "Is Marriage for White People? Incarceration and the Racial Marriage Divide," 2017 Meeting Papers 779, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Sommer, Kamila, 2016. "Fertility choice in a life cycle model with idiosyncratic uninsurable earnings risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 27-38.
    7. repec:bla:obuest:v:80:y:2018:i:6:p:1089-1116 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Pavel Jelnov, 2018. "A New Estimator of Search Duration and Its Application to the Marriage Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1089-1116, December.

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