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Age at Marriage and Marital Instability: Revisiting the Becker-Landes-Michael Hypothesis

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  • Lehrer, Evelyn L.

    () (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Abstract

An early age at first marriage is known to be associated with a high risk of divorce. Yet it has been suggested that beyond a certain point, the relationship between age at marriage and marital instability may become positive, because as unmarried women begin to hear their biological clock tick, they may settle for matches far from the optimal. Analyses based on cycles 5 and 6 of the National Surveys of Family Growth show that the relationship between age at marriage and marital instability is strongly negative up to the late twenties, with a flattening of the curve thereafter.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehrer, Evelyn L., 2006. "Age at Marriage and Marital Instability: Revisiting the Becker-Landes-Michael Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 2166, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2166
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 293-329, January.
    2. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    3. Chiswick, Carmel U & Lehrer, Evelyn L, 1990. "On Marriage-Specific Human Capital: Its Role as a Determinant of Remarriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 3(3), pages 193-213, October.
    4. Linda J. Waite & Evelyn L. Lehrer, 2003. "The Benefits from Marriage and Religion in the United States: A Comparative Analysis," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 29(2), pages 255-275.
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    Cited by:

    1. Barry Chiswick & Christina Houseworth, 2011. "Ethnic intermarriage among immigrants: human capital and assortative mating," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 149-180, June.
    2. Ayako Kondo, 2012. "Gender-specific labor market conditions and family formation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 151-174, January.
    3. Evelyn Lehrer & Yeon-jeong Son, 2017. "Women’s age at first marriage and marital instability in the United States: Differences by race and ethnicity," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 37(9), pages 229-250, August.
    4. Thorsten Kneip & Gerrit Bauer & Steffen Reinhold, 2014. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Unilateral Divorce Law on Marital Stability," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(6), pages 2103-2126, December.
    5. Maria Paola & Francesca Gioia, 2017. "Does patience matter in marriage stability? Some evidence from Italy," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 549-577, June.
    6. PARISI, Lavinia, 2012. "The Determinants of First and Second Marital Dissolution. Evidence from Britain," CELPE Discussion Papers 121, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
    7. Lehrer, Evelyn L. & Son, Yeon Jeong, 2017. "Marital Instability in the United States: Trends, Driving Forces, and Implications for Children," IZA Discussion Papers 10503, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Richard Lampard, 2013. "Age at marriage and the risk of divorce in England and Wales," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(7), pages 167-202, July.
    9. Rebecca Kippen & Bruce Chapman & Peng Yu, 2010. "What's love got to do with it? Homogamy and dyadic approaches to understanding marital instability," CEPR Discussion Papers 631, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    10. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2013. "Assortative mating and divorce: evidence from Austrian register data," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(4), pages 907-929, October.
    11. Bellido, Héctor & Marcén, Miriam, 2016. "On the relationship between BMI and marital dissolution," MPRA Paper 73868, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Zhang, Chuanchuan, 2012. "结婚年龄与婚姻的稳定性:来自断点回归的证据
      [Age at marriage and marital stability: evidence from a regression discontinuity design]
      ," MPRA Paper 38809, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Govert Bijwaard & Stijn Doeselaar, 2014. "The impact of changes in the marital status on return migration of family migrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(4), pages 961-997, October.
    14. Delia Furtado & Miriam Marcén & Almudena Sevilla, 2013. "Does Culture Affect Divorce? Evidence From European Immigrants in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1013-1038, June.
    15. Lehrer, Evelyn L. & Chen, Yu, 2012. "Delayed Entry into First Marriage: Further Evidence on the Becker-Landes-Michael Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 6729, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Evelyn Lehrer & Yu Chen, 2013. "Delayed entry into first marriage and marital stability," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 29(20), pages 521-542, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    divorce; marital dissolution; marriage;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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