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Why Not Settle Down Already? A Quantitative Question

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  • David Weiss

    (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Cezar Santos

    (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

One of the most striking changes in American society over the last 40 years has been the decline and delay in marriage. The fraction of young men and women who have never been married has steadily and significantly increased since before 1970. The economics literature has also noted a rise in labor market volatility over this period. The first contribution of this paper is that we propose a new hypothesis: that these two events are linked. Specifically, if marriage involves consumption commitments, then a rise in volatility in income processes could result in a delay in marriage. The second contribution is to assess this new hypothesis vis-à-vis others in the literature, using an estimated structural model. We find that the decrease in the price of home inputs explains a little over a third of the data. The decrease in the gender wage gap explains a third of the data. Rising income volatility explains a little under a third of the data. All three of these stories are needed in order to provide a satisfactory explanation to the question of why young adults are delaying marriage.

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  • David Weiss & Cezar Santos, 2011. "Why Not Settle Down Already? A Quantitative Question," 2011 Meeting Papers 921, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:921
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    Cited by:

    1. Paz-Pardo, Gonzalo, 2021. "Homeownership and portfolio choice over the generations," Working Paper Series 2522, European Central Bank.
    2. Salvador Ortigueira & Nawid Siassi, . "The U.S. Tax-Transfer System and Low-Income Households: Savings, Labor Supply, and Household Formation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Hye Mi You, 2018. "Marriage, Working Spouses, and Male Wage Volatility," Korean Economic Review, Korean Economic Association, vol. 34, pages 101-115.
    4. Elizabeth Caucutt & Nezih Guner & Christopher Rauh, 2018. "Is Marriage for White People? Incarceration, Unemployment, and the Racial Marriage Divide," Working Papers 2018-074, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2019. "The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage," Working Papers wp2019_1912, CEMFI.
    6. Nawid Siassi, 2019. "Inequality and the Marriage Gap," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 160-181, January.
    7. Nezih Guner & Christopher Rauh & Elizabeth Caucutt, 2017. "Is Marriage for White People? Incarceration and the Racial Marriage Divide," 2017 Meeting Papers 779, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Fabio Blasutto & Egor Kozlov, 2020. "(Changing) Marriage and Cohabitation Patterns in the US: do Divorce Laws Matter?," 2020 Papers pbl245, Job Market Papers.
    9. Marcel Fischer & Natalia Khorunzhina, 2019. "Housing Decision With Divorce Risk," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 60(3), pages 1263-1290, August.
    10. Chiara L. Comolli & Daniele Vignoli, 2019. "Spread-ing uncertainty, shrinking birth rates," Econometrics Working Papers Archive 2019_08, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Statistica, Informatica, Applicazioni "G. Parenti".
    11. Salvador Ortigueira & Nawid Siassi, . "The U.S. Tax-Transfer System and Low-Income Households: Savings, Labor Supply, and Household Formation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Elyakim Kislev, 2020. "Social Capital, Happiness, and the Unmarried: a Multilevel Analysis of 32 European Countries," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 15(5), pages 1475-1492, November.
    13. Pavel Jelnov, 2018. "A New Estimator of Search Duration and Its Application to the Marriage Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1089-1116, December.
    14. Fabio Blasutto, 2020. "Cohabitation vs Marriage: Mating Strategies by Education in the USA," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2020023, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    15. Grey Gordon, 2019. "Efficient Computation with Taste Shocks," Working Paper 19-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

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