World War II, Missing Men, and Out-of-wedlock Childbearing
Based on county-level census data for the German state of Bavaria in 1939 and 1946, we use World War II as a natural experiment to study the effects of sex ratio changes on out-of-wedlock fertility. Our findings show that war-induced shortfalls of men to women significantly increased the nonmarital fertility ratio at mid century, a result that proves robust to the use of alternative sex ratio definitions, post-war measures of fertility, and estimation samples. The magnitude of this increase furthermore appears to depend on the future marriage market prospects that women at the time could expect to face in the not-too-distant future. We find the positive effect on the nonmarital fertility ratio of a decline in the sex ratio to be strongly attenuated by the magnitude of county- level shares of prisoners of war. Unlike military casualties and soldiers missing in action, prisoners of war had a sizeable positive probability of returning home from the war. Both current marriage market conditions, therefore, and foreseeable improvements in the future marriage market prospects of women appear to have influenced fertility behavior in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
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- Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2007.
"Uncertain Paternity, Mating Market Failure, and the Institution of Marriage,"
SFB 649 Discussion Papers
SFB649DP2007-013, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
- Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2007. "Uncertain Paternity, Mating Market Failure, and the Institution of Marriage," Discussion Paper Series 0701, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
- Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002.
"Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
- Chiappori, Pierre-André & Fortin, Bernard & Lacroix, Guy, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," Cahiers de recherche 0103, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
- Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2001. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation and Household Labor Supply," CIRANO Working Papers 2001s-16, CIRANO.
- Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1985. "Children as Collective Goods and Divorce Settlements," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 268-92, July.
- George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
- Robert J. Willis, 1999. "A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S33-S64, December.
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