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Modeling American Marriage Patterns

  • BLOOM, D.E.

This paper investigates the application of the three-parameter, Coale-McNeil marriage model and some related hyper-parameterized specifications to data on the first marriage patterns of American women. Because the model is parametric, it can be used to estimate the parameters of the marriage process, free of censoring bias, for cohorts that have yet to complete their first marriage experience. Empirical evidence from three surveys is reported on the ability of the model to replicate and project observed marriage behavior. The results indicate that the model can be a useful tool for analyzing cohort marriage data and that recent cohorts are showing relatively strong proclivities to both delay and forego marriage. Consistent with earlier work, the results also indicate that education is a powerful covariate of the timing of first marriage and that race is a powerful covariate of its incidence.

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Paper provided by Yale - Economic Growth Center in its series Papers with number 584.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 1989
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:yalegr:584
Phone: (203) 432-3610
Fax: (203) 432-3898
Web page:

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  1. Willard Rodgers & Arland Thornton, 1985. "Changing patterns of first marriage in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 265-279, May.
  2. Robert Schoen & William Urton & Karen Woodrow & John Bai, 1985. "Marriage and divorce in twentieth century American cohorts," Demography, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 101-114, February.
  3. Keeley, Michael C, 1979. "An Analysis of the Age Pattern of First Marriage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(2), pages 527-44, June.
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