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Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions.

Publication Year: 
Personal Author: 
Blau, Francine D.
Kahn, Lawrence M.
Waldfogel, Jane.
Journal Article
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Using the 1970, 1980 and 1990 Censuses, we investigate the impact of labor and marriage market conditions on the incidence of marriage of young women (age 16-24). We employ a two-stage methodology. First, across individuals, marriage is regressed on personal characteristics and MSA indicators, separately by race and education group. Second, the first-stage MSA effects are regressed on MSA-level labor and marriage market conditions and welfare benefits using cross-section and fixed effects models, including both first and second difference equations. Better female labor markets, worse female marriage markets and worse male labor markets are found to lower marriage rates for whites in all education groups. Results for these variables for blacks are sensitive to estimation technique, although stronger results are obtained for an older age group (25-34). While welfare benefits have a negative effect in cross-sectional analyses, the association becomes considerably weaker in fixed effects specifications. (Author abstract)

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