IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/aah/aarhec/2013-06.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Marital Prospects Dissuade Unmarried Fertility?

Author

Listed:
  • John Kennes

    () (Department of Economics and Business, Aarhus University)

  • John Knowles

    (University of Southampton)

Abstract

We develop a new directed-search model of fertility and marriage, and apply it to two empirical problems: the rise in unmarried women’s share of births since 1970, and the fact that black women have lower marriage rates and higher rates of unmarried births than white women. The premise is that weaker marriage-market prospects may be strong enough to explain higher unmarried birth rates. Relative to the existing literature, the essential contributions of the model are to allow for accumulation of children over the lifecycle and for the marriage of single mothers. We use the model, in conjunction with US survey data, to explore the impact of marital prospects on the fertility decisions of unmarried women. We find that the decline, from the 1970s to 1995, in marriage rates of unmarried women with no children, can account for the dramatic rise in unmarried women’s share of births over that period. Contrary to the “Wilson hypothesis”, we find that male scarcity cannot account for the black-white gap in marriage rates in the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

  • John Kennes & John Knowles, 2013. "Do Marital Prospects Dissuade Unmarried Fertility?," Economics Working Papers 2013-06, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2013-06
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: ftp://ftp.econ.au.dk/afn/wp/13/wp13_06.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Two-Sided Search; Irreversible Investments; Divorce; Family; Family Economics; Household Formation; Marriage Rates; Premarital Sex; Single Mothers; Fertility;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • E13 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Neoclassical
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2013-06. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://www.econ.au.dk/afn/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.