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When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men

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  • Autor, David
  • Dorn, David
  • Hanson, Gordon

Abstract

The structure of marriage and child-rearing in U.S. households has undergone two marked shifts in the last three decades: a steep decline in the prevalence of marriage among young adults, and a sharp rise in the fraction of children born to unmarried mothers or living in single-headed households. A potential contributor to both phenomena is the declining labor-market opportunities faced by males, which make them less valuable as marital partners. We exploit large scale, plausibly exogenous labor-demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the supply of young "marriageable" males affect marriage, fertility and children's living circumstances. Trade shocks to manufacturing industries have particularly negative impacts on the labor market prospects of men and degrade their marriage-market value along multiple dimensions: diminishing their relative earnings - particularly at the lower segment of the distribution - reducing their physical availability in trade-impacted labor markets, and increasing their participation in risky and damaging behaviors. As predicted by a simple model of marital decision-making under uncertainty, we document that adverse shocks to the supply of "marriageable" men reduce the prevalence of marriage and lower fertility but raise the fraction of children born to young and unwed mothers and living in in poor single-parent households. The falling marriage-market value of young men appears to be a quantitatively important contributor to the rising

Suggested Citation

  • Autor, David & Dorn, David & Hanson, Gordon, 2017. "When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Men," CEPR Discussion Papers 11878, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. David A. Jaeger & Theodore J. Joyce & Robert Kaestner, 2020. "A Cautionary Tale of Evaluating Identifying Assumptions: Did Reality TV Really Cause a Decline in Teenage Childbearing?," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(2), pages 317-326, April.
    2. Fischer, Andreas M & Saure, Philip, 2018. "Identifying Chinese Supply Shocks - Effects of Trade on Labor Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 13122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2018. "Deaths of Despair or Drug Problems?," NBER Working Papers 24188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Melissa S. Kearney & Riley Wilson, 2018. "Male Earnings, Marriageable Men, and Nonmarital Fertility: Evidence from the Fracking Boom," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 678-690, October.
    5. Teresa C. Fort & Justin R. Pierce & Peter K. Schott, 2018. "New Perspectives on the Decline of US Manufacturing Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(2), pages 47-72, Spring.
    6. Liepmann, Hannah, 2018. "The impact of a negative labor demand shock on fertility – Evidence from the fall of the Berlin Wall," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 210-224.
    7. Simona Iammarino & Andrés Rodriguez-Pose & Michael Storper, 2019. "Regional inequality in Europe: evidence, theory and policy implications," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 273-298.
    8. Nathan Seltzer, 2019. "Beyond the Great Recession: Labor Market Polarization and Ongoing Fertility Decline in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1463-1493, August.
    9. Nils Braakmann, 2018. "Company Closures and the Erosion of the Political Centre: Evidence from Germany," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 56(4), pages 835-858, December.
    10. Anelli, Massimo & Giuntella, Osea & Stella, Luca, 2019. "Robots, Labor Markets, and Family Behavior," IZA Discussion Papers 12820, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Krisztina Kis-Katos & Janneke Pieters & Robert Sparrow, 2018. "Globalization and Social Change: Gender-Specific Effects of Trade Liberalization in Indonesia," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(4), pages 763-793, December.
    12. Francesco Vona, 2018. "Job losses and the political acceptability of climate policies : an amplified collective action problem," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/7upb3pbvdn8, Sciences Po.
    13. Courtney C. Coile & Mark G. Duggan, 2019. "When Labor's Lost: Health, Family Life, Incarceration, and Education in a Time of Declining Economic Opportunity for Low-Skilled Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 191-210, Spring.
    14. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 2017. "Mortality and Morbidity in the 21st Century," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 397-476.
    15. Shushanik Hakobyan & John McLaren, 2018. "NAFTA and the Wages of Married Women," NBER Working Papers 24424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Fletcher, Jason M. & Polos, Jessica, 2017. "Nonmarital and Teen Fertility," IZA Discussion Papers 10833, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Braga, Breno, 2018. "The Effects of Trade Exposure on Marriage and Fertility Choices: Evidence from Brazil," IZA Discussion Papers 11875, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Fredrik Heyman & Fredrik Sjöholm, 2019. "Globalization, Job Tasks and the Demand for Different Occupations," Travail et Emploi, La DARES, vol. 0(1), pages 67-91.
    19. Zurab Abramishvili & William Appleman & Sergii Maksymovych, 2019. "Parental Gender Preference in the Balkans and Scandinavia: Gender Bias or Differential Costs?," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp643, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    20. Megan Moskos, 2020. "Why is the gender revolution uneven and stalled? Gender essentialism and men's movement into ‘women's work'," Gender, Work and Organization, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 527-544, July.
    21. Wrenn, Douglas H. & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Bo, 2019. "House prices and marriage entry in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 118-130.
    22. Andrew Goodman-Bacon & Jamein P. Cunningham, 2019. "Changes in Family Structure and Welfare Participation Since the 1960s: The Role of Legal Services," NBER Working Papers 26238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fertility; Household Structure; import competition; Local Labor Markets; Marriage Market; Single-Parent Families; Trade Flows;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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