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DINKs, DEWKs & Co. Marriage, Fertility and Childlessness in the United States

  • Thomas BAUDIN


    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) and Université de Lille 3)

  • David de la CROIX


    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et sociale (IRES) and Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE))

  • Paula GOBBI


    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Among possible lifestyles, the DINKs (“double income no kids”) are couples choosing to be childless, while the DEWKs (“dually employed with kids”) are couples with children. We develop a theory of marriage and parenthood decisions, where we distinguish the choice to have children from the choice of the number of children. The deep parameters of the model are identified from the 1990 US Census. The quantitative model allows us to measure voluntary and involuntary childlessness from the data, and to understand (1) why single women are more likely to be childless than married women but, when mothers, their fertility is close to that of married mothers; (2) why childlessness exhibits a U-shaped relationship with education for both single and married women; and (3) why there is a hump-shaped relationship between marriage rates and education levels. We show how family patterns have been shaped over time by the rise in education levels and wage inequality, and by the shrinking gender wage gap.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2012013.

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Length: 74
Date of creation: 02 Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2012013
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