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World War II, Missing Men, and Out-of-wedlock Childbearing

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Kvasnicka

    (Department of Economics, Humboldt University)

  • Dirk Bethmann

    () (Department of Economics, Korea University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Kvasnicka & Dirk Bethmann, 2007. "World War II, Missing Men, and Out-of-wedlock Childbearing," Discussion Paper Series 0730, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  • Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:0730
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    File URL: http://econ.korea.ac.kr/~ri/WorkingPapers/w0730.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 268-292, July.
    5. Robert J. Willis, 1999. "A Theory of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages 33-64, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. La Mattina, Giulia, 2017. "Civil conflict, domestic violence and intra-household bargaining in post-genocide Rwanda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 168-198.
    2. repec:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:2:p:229-242 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Thomas K. Bauer & Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2013. "The Economic Integration of Forced Migrants: Evidence for Post‐War Germany," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123, pages 998-1024, September.
    4. Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2014. "War, Marriage Markets, and the Sex Ratio at Birth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(3), pages 859-877, July.
    5. Thomas K. Bauer & Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2011. "The Economic Integration of Forced Migrants – Evidence for Post-War Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0267, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    6. Eder, Christoph & Halla, Martin, 2017. "Economic Origins of Cultural Norms: The Case of Animal Husbandry and Bastardy," IZA Discussion Papers 10969, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Chang, Simon & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2015. "Mating competition and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 292-309.
    8. repec:zbw:rwirep:0154 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Marianne P. Bitler & Lucie Schmidt, 2012. "Birth Rates and the Vietnam Draft," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 566-569, May.
    10. Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Making Yourself Attractive: Pre-marital Investments and the Returns to Education in the Marriage Market," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 151-178, April.
    11. Chew, Soo Hong & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen & Zhong, Songfa, 2017. "Risk Aversion and Son Preference: Experimental Evidence from Chinese Twin Parents," IZA Discussion Papers 10519, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Elizabeth Brainerd, 2017. "The Lasting Effect of Sex Ratio Imbalance on Marriage and Family: Evidence from World War II in Russia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 229-242, May.
    13. Elaina Rose & Ho-Po Crystal Wong, 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," Working Papers 14-30, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    14. Bethmann, Dirk & Kvasnicka, Michael, 2009. "Why Are More Boys Born During War? - Evidence from Germany at Mid Century," Ruhr Economic Papers 154, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Matthew Larsen & T. McCarthy & Jeremy Moulton & Marianne Page & Ankur Patel, 2015. "War and Marriage: Assortative Mating and the World War II GI Bill," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(5), pages 1431-1461, October.
    16. Rose, Elaina & Wong, Crystal (Ho Po), 2014. "But Who Will Get Billy? The Effect of Child Custody Laws on Marriage," IZA Discussion Papers 8611, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Giulia La Mattina, 2014. "Civil Conflict, Sex Ratio and Intimate Partner Violence in Rwanda," Working Papers 0114, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    18. Jürges, Hendrik, 2013. "Collateral damage: The German food crisis, educational attainment and labor market outcomes of German post-war cohorts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 286-303.
    19. Giulia La Mattina, 2014. "Civil Conflict, Sex Ratio and Intimate Partner Violence in Rwanda," HiCN Working Papers 175, Households in Conflict Network.
    20. Knowles, John & Vandenbroucke, Guillaume, 2015. "Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics," Working Papers 2015-7, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 01 Feb 2016.
    21. repec:zbw:rwirep:0267 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2009. "Why Are More Boys Born During War? - Evidence from Germany at Mid Century," Ruhr Economic Papers 0154, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    23. Timothy Halliday & Sumner La Croix, 2013. "Sons, Daughters, and Labor Supply in Early Twentieth-Century Hawaii," Working Papers 201318, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    World War II; Sex Ratios; Out-Of-Wedlock Births;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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