Effects of Changing Male Relative Income on Marriage and Divorce

Diane J. Macunovich

in Birth Quake

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780226500836
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226500928 | DOI:
Effects of Changing Male Relative Income on Marriage and Divorce

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This chapter considers the closely related issues of marriage and divorce. Divorce rates appear to have topped out since about 1985 and have even begun to decline, as male relative income has stabilized and begun to improve. For the baby boomers, higher divorce rates appear to leave permanent scars. There is no apparent trend in divorce rates at each age among the baby boomers themselves. Marriage postponement that may have led from relative income effects showed up as simple college enrollment in the Wisconsin sample, which has a strong negative effect on propensity to marry. Young women will be “squeezed out” of the marriage market when there is a relative shortage of unmarried men about two years older than themselves. Rising women's wages appear to have encouraged marriage and discouraged divorce among young working women.

Keywords: marriage; divorce; male relative income; baby boomers; college enrollment; young women; wages

Chapter.  5587 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Microeconomics

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