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When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Young Men

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  • David Autor
  • David Dorn
  • Gordon Hanson

Abstract

We exploit the gender-specific components of large-scale labor demand shocks stemming from rising international manufacturing competition to test how shifts in the relative economic stature of young men versus young women affected marriage, fertility and children’s living circumstances during 1990-2014. On average, trade shocks differentially reduce employment and earnings, raise the prevalence of idleness, and elevate premature mortality among young males. Consistent with Becker’s model of household specialization, shocks to male relative stature reduce marriage and fertility. Consistent with sociological accounts, these shocks raise the share of mothers who are unwed and share of children living in below-poverty, single-headed households.

Suggested Citation

  • David Autor & David Dorn & Gordon Hanson, 2017. "When Work Disappears: Manufacturing Decline and the Falling Marriage-Market Value of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 23173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23173
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • 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
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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