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The Role of the Sex Imbalance in Shaping Marital Status

  • Shannon Seitz
  • Jose-Victor Rios-Rull

To what extent do imbalances in the ratio of men to women in the population account for the historical trends in marriage and divorce? To answer this question, we build a model of marriage with two main features. First, there exists asymmetry across men and women with respect to the length of their fertile period: men can have children all through adulthood, while women can only bear children for a limited period of time. Second, outside opportunities to marry, measured by the ratio of single men to women, play a central role in inducing agents to marry and divorce. Together, both features are consistent with the secular improvement in marriage conditions for men, the rise in age at marriage, and the rise in divorce observed in the data. After constructing the model, we estimate the model using recent US data to determine what fraction of the variation in marriage rates over time can be explained by changes in the sex ratio

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 90.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:90
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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