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Consequences of Imbalanced Sex Ratios: Evidence from America's Second Generation

  • Josh Angrist

A combination of changing migration patterns and US immigration restrictions acted to shift the male-female balance in many ethnic groups in the early 20th Century. I use this variation to study the consequences of changing sex ratios for the children of immigrants. Immigrant sex ratios affected the second generation for a number of reasons, most importantly because immigrants and their children typically married in the same ethnic group. The results suggest that higher sex ratios, defined as the number of men per woman, had a large positive impact on the likelihood of female marriage. More surprisingly, second-generation male marriage rates were also an increasing function of immigrant sex ratios. The results also suggest that higher sex ratios raised male earnings and the incomes of parents with young children. The interpretation of these findings is complicated by changes in extended family structure associated with changing sex ratios. On balance, however, the results are consistent with theories where higher sex ratios increase male competition for women in the marriage market.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8042.

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Date of creation: Dec 2000
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Publication status: published as Angrist, Josh. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage And Labor Markets? Evidence From America's Second Generation," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2002, v107(3,Aug), 997-1038.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8042
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