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The Impact of Internet Diffusion on Marriage Rates: Evidence from the Broadband Market

  • Bellou, Andriana

    ()

    (University of Montreal)

The Internet has the potential to reduce search frictions by allowing individuals to identify faster a larger set of available options that conform to their preferences. One market that stands to benefit from this process is that of marriage. This paper empirically examines the implications of Internet diffusion in the United States since the 1990s on one aspect of this market: marriage rates. Exploring sharp temporal and geographic variation in the pattern of consumer broadband adoption, I find that the latter has significantly contributed to increased marriages rates among 21-30 year olds. A number of tests suggest that this relationship is causal and that it varies across demographic groups potentially facing thinner marriage markets. I also provide some suggestive evidence that Internet has likely crowded out other traditional meeting venues, such as through family and friends.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7316.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: forthcoming in: Journal of Population Economics, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7316
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  1. David S. Loughran & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2007. "Why Wait? The Effect of Marriage and Childbearing on the Wages of Men and Women," Working Papers 482-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  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 1141-87, December.
  3. Gordon B. Dahl, 2005. "Early Teen Marriage and Future Poverty," NBER Working Papers 11328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2000. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," NBER Working Papers 7527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. McKinley L. Blackburn & David E. Bloom, 1990. "Fertility Timing, Wages, and Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 3422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Austan Goolsbee, 2002. "Does the Internet Make Markets More Competitive? Evidence from the Life Insurance Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 481-507, June.
  8. Martha J Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320, 02.
  9. Kuhn, Peter & Skuterud, Mikal Skuterud, 2002. "Internet Job Search and Unemployment Durations," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8583s24x, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  10. Shannon Seitz, 2009. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 385-437, 07.
  11. Shane Greenstein & Ryan C. McDevitt, 2009. "The Broadband Bonus: Accounting for Broadband Internet's Impact on U.S. GDP," NBER Working Papers 14758, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
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