Chapter 3 marriage the family
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Chapter 3 Marriage & the Family. Focus on 3 issues: 1)  Race differences in marriage and family structure: * changes over time; * economic explanations. 2)  Male marriage premium 3)  Divorce: * economic analysis; * economic consequences. Race Differences in Marital Status.

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Chapter 3 Marriage & the Family

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Chapter 3 marriage the family

Chapter 3Marriage & the Family

  • Focus on 3 issues:

    1) Race differences in marriage and family structure:

    * changes over time;

    * economic explanations.

    2) Male marriage premium

  • 3) Divorce:

    • * economic analysis;

    • * economic consequences.


Race differences in marital status

Race Differencesin Marital Status

  • Table 1: Year 2000

  • Figure 1: Shows changes over time:

    • Big divergence by race in 1970s;

    • Now a 20% difference in proportion married.

  • Figure 2: Race difference driven by differential growth in % never married.

  • Why Care?

    • Key is family income and poverty.

    • Table 2: see similarity between white mother-only and AA two-parent.


Economic explanations

Economic Explanations

  • Three Explanations:

    • 1) Changes in marriage markets

    • 2)   Changes in wage rates

    • 3)    Role of the welfare system.

  •  Probably all 3 played a role, some for all women; some for specific groups of women.


Marriage markets

Marriage Markets

  • William Julius Wilson: The Truly Disadvantaged and When Work Disappears.

  • Decline in marriage: reflects declining marriage prospects of AA women (resulting from declining labor mkt position of AA men)

  • Key: in 1970s, dramatic decline in real wages and employment rates of less skilled/less educated men; hit AA men particularly hard; this trend continues to today but biggest hit in 1970s. 


Continued

Continued

  • Result: for AA men: for those who work, lower real wages; lower employment rates.

  •  So less attractive as marriage partner since cannot support family.


Chapter 3 marriage the family

MMPI

  • Male Marriageable Pool Index: MMPI ratio of # employed men to # of women (calculated separately by race and age; also could do by education)

  • MMPI = [# empl men / # women]

  • Balance in marriage market: if MMPI  1, poor prospects for women

  • At birth: MMPI = 1.

  • But what if MMPI falls?


More on mmpi

More on MMPI

  • Reasons for  MMPI:

    • 1)   # empl men

    • 2)   incarceration rates

    • 3)   mortality rates

  • Evidence from Great Depression supports idea of men’s ability to support family as being important in marriageability.

  • See Table 3:

    • Shows MMPI for 1950s to 1980s;

    • MMPI shown as # empl men per 100 women.

    • Rate always lower for AA; AA decline over time.


Mmpi and female headed families

MMPI and Female-Headed Families

  • See Table 4: Shows changes from 1960 to 1980:

    • Links racial pattern in %  MMPI and % proportion of families headed by female.

    • Most regions/races have  MMPI;

    • Always bigger  for AA than whites.

    • Biggest  in NE and NC (where blue-collar job loss the worst)

    • Big  MMPI associated with big  female headed HH.

    • MMPI changes are NOT only thing (see % female heads in west)

    •  Also: other researchers note big  marriage for employed AA men too.


Importance of women s wage rates

Importance of Women’s Wage Rates

  • Gains from trade model:

    • As women’s wages rise, differences in mkt productivity between men and women falls so gains are reduced.

    • Data supporting this possible cause of lower marriage rates: sex wage differences less for AA than whites.

  • S & D model:

    • As women’s wages rise, their S of marriage curve shifts back to left, reducing marriage rates.

  • Also, as women  education, they delay fertility. So like-educated men face worse marriage prospects too.


Welfare system

Welfare system

  •  Key:  “production” while single.

    • S & D model: if Zf, then likelihood of marrying falls.

  • History of Welfare

    • Social Security Act of 1935: created ADC (became AFDC); now TANF.

    • Beneficiaries: poor mother-only families.

    • In 1935: mostly widows (deemed “deserving” of support)

  • Even today: monthly $ support quite low (range from $200 to $600 or so).


Welfare and marriage

Welfare and Marriage

  • Some scholars claim that providing welfare  marriage.

    • Benefits only given to single-parent families; usually with limited labor market skills.

    • Could have differential impact by race since AA women somewhat more likely to be low-skilled than white women.

  • Empirical evidence weak.

    • Approach: Compare female headship with policy changes: Marriage  in 1970s but welfare falling at same time.

  • Conclusion:

    • Moffitt: “..none of the studies find effects sufficiently large to explain…the increase in female headship in the late 1960s and early 1970s.”


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