Trends in Marriage in the United States: Trends in Marriage in the United States Percent of the Population 15 Years and Over who were Married
Men, 1970 = 65.4 2005 = 54.9
Women, 1970 = 59.7 2005 = 51.4
Median Age at First Marriage
Men, 1970 = 23.2 2005 = 27.0
Women, 1970 = 20.8 2005 = 25.5
1970 = 523,000 2005 = 5,214,000 Source: U.S. Census Bureau Trends in Marriage: Men: Trends in Marriage: Men Source: U.S. Census Bureau Trends in Marriage: Women: Trends in Marriage: Women Source: U.S. Census Bureau Patterns of Marriage in the United States, 2005: Patterns of Marriage in the United States, 2005 Percent of the Population 30-34 Years Old who were Married
White = 64.9
Black = 39.2
Asian = 70.9
Hispanic (of any race) = 62.4
Men with Earnings $15,000-$24,999 = 48.9
Men with Earnings $25,000-$39,999 = 56.4
Men with Earnings $40,000-$74,999 = 70.4
Source: U.S. Census Bureau International Trends in Marriage : International Trends in Marriage Percent of Women 30-34 Years Old who were Married
U.S. 1970 = 82.7 2003 = 64.6
Australia 1971 = 88.6 1991 = 70.4
Brazil 1970 = 73.7 1996 = 65.7
Finland 1970 = 81.4 1990 = 32.1
Japan 1970 = 89.8 1995 = 76.2
Egypt 1976 = 87.7 1995 = 89.8
India 1971 = 94.1 1993 = 96.2
Mexico 1970 = 71.7 1990 = 71.6
Increasing Cohabitation has Accompanied Declining Marriage : Increasing Cohabitation has Accompanied Declining Marriage Benefits of Marriage (v. Never Marrying) : Benefits of Marriage (v. Never Marrying) Longer life
Higher wages (men, Black women, married White women with no children)
More educated children
Higher earning children Married Men Live Longer : Married Men Live Longer Married men exhibit lower levels of negative health behaviors and face a lower risk of dying than widowed, divorced, or never married men.
Married Women Live Longer : Married Women Live Longer Married women exhibit lower levels of negative health behaviors and face a lower risk of dying than divorced, or never married women.
Married People Have More and Better Sex : Married People Have More and Better Sex Married men and women report having twice as much sex as single men and women.
Married men report having more physically and emotionally satisfying sex than single or cohabiting men.
Married women report having more emotionally satisfying sex than single or cohabiting women. Married People are Wealthier than Unmarried People : Married People are Wealthier than Unmarried People Benefits of Marriage (continued): Benefits of Marriage (continued) Children from two-parent families are less likely to live in poverty and drop out of high school than children from single-parent families.
On average, marriage leads to higher commodity output and consumption than remaining single.
Economies of scale from joint consumption
Gains from specialization and division of labor
Marriage Market: Marriage Market Assume a society with n males and n females where,
Mi = male i
Fj = female j
Zij = total commodity output/income from the marriage between male i and female j
U = U(Z) Marriage Payoff Matrix: Marriage Payoff Matrix Individual Marital Output/Income: Individual Marital Output/Income Zij is divided in some manner between the husband and wife where,
mij = income of male i if married to female j
fij = income of female j if married to male i
mij + fij = Zij
In order for a marriage to be sustainable it must be the case that,
mij ≥ Zi0 and fij ≥ Z0j Equilibrium (Core) Marital Sorting: Equilibrium (Core) Marital Sorting In a society with n women and n men there are n! possible marriage assortments (assuming everyone marries).
If marital output can be divided in any way between the husband and wife, the equilibrium marital sorting will be the sorting that maximizes to total output across all marriages.
If a marriage is in the core then there is no incentive for any couple to divorce their current spouses and marry each other. Division of Marital Output: Division of Marital Output Assuming a monogamous marriage market, the primary determinants of the division of marital output are
The sex ratio (the number of men per 100 women)
The quality of men and women in the marriage market Division of Marital Output with Equal Quality: Division of Marital Output with Equal Quality If all the men are identical and all the women are identical then,
The division of marital output is determined entirely by the sex ratio in the marriage market
If the marriage market is in equilibrium, identical individuals must receive identical output Example 1: Two Identical Women: Example 1: Two Identical Women One woman is married and receiving an output of 10, the other is single and receiving an output of 8
The single woman can go to the husband of the married woman and offer to marry him for 9. He would accept since this would make both of them better off.
His ex-wife is now receiving the single output of 8. She can go back to her husband an offer to marry him for 8.5. He would accept since this would make him better off.
The women would continue to underbid each other until both were receiving an output of 8 and there was no incentive for either woman to change her marital status. Example 2: 100 Identical Men, 80 Identical Women: Example 2: 100 Identical Men, 80 Identical Women Single income for each woman = f0j
Single income for each man = mi0
Output from each marriage = Zmf
The gains from marriage are positive,
Zmf andgt; mi0 + f0j
In this case,
All 80 women will marry and 80 men will marry
The 20 unmarried men will receive mi0
The 80 married men will receive mi0
The 80 married women will receive Zmf – mi0 (all the gains from marriage)
Division of Output with Different Men and Women: Division of Output with Different Men and Women Assume a society of
9 women, 3 high quality (Fh), 3 medium quality (Fm), and 3 low quality (Fl)
7 men, 2 high quality (Mh), 3 medium quality (Mm), and 2 low quality (Ml)
Assume that high quality individuals prefer to marry other high quality individuals
Division of Output with Different Men and Women: Division of Output with Different Men and Women The core set of marriages will be
Fh, Mh 100 [Fh = 40, Mh = 60]
Fh, Mh 100 [Fh = 40, Mh = 60]
Fh, Mm 75 [Fh = 40, Mm = 35]
Fm, Mm 55 [Fm = 20, Mm = 35]
Fm, Mm 55 [Fm = 20, Mm = 35]
Fm, Ml 40 [Fm = 20, Ml = 20]
Fl, Ml 30 [Fl = 10, Ml = 20]
Assortative Mating: Assortative Mating Do individuals tend to marry individuals with similar traits to their own or with different traits?
For a particular trait, likes will tend to marry likes or unlikes when that maximizes household commodity output
The marriage of likes to likes is referred to as positive assortative mating.
The marriage of likes to unlikes is referred to as negative assortative mating.
Assortative Mating: Assortative Mating Assume there is only one trait, A.
If increasing Am and Af together adds more to total output than the sum of separate increases then we would tend to observe positive assortative mating on trait A
If increasing Am and Af together adds less to total output than the sum of separate increases then we would tend to observe negative assortative mating on trait A Assortative Mating: Assortative Mating Empirical studies have shown that, for most traits, positive assortative mating is optimal.
A high degree of positive assortative mating is observed on intelligence, age, education, religion, wealth, race, ethnic origin, height, and place of birth
Negative assortative mating tends to be observed on dominance, nurturing, hostility, and wages Why Have We Seen a Decline in Marriage?: Why Have We Seen a Decline in Marriage? Increased Economic Independence for Women
Decline in the Number of Marriageable Men
Change in Societal Norms
Decline in Fertility Trends in Divorce: Trends in Divorce Not only are couples likely to marry later but they are also likely to remain married for a shorter period of time.
From 1950 to 1965 the divorce rate remained constant at approximately 2.5 divorces per 1,000 people
By 1970 it had increased to 3.5 per 1,000
By 1975 it had reached 4.8 per 1,000
By 1980 it had peaked at 5.2 per 1,000
By 2001 the divorce rate had fallen to 4.0 per 1,000 Why Do People Divorce?: Why Do People Divorce? People divorce for the same reason that they get married, because they believe that by divorcing they will increase their individual commodity income.
Contrary to our earlier assumptions, the marriage market is a market of imperfect information—you won’t know how much income you get from a particular marriage until you are actually married.
Marriage-Specific Capital: Marriage-Specific Capital Nearly half of all divorces occur in the first few years of marriage and the probability of divorce generally falls as the number of years of marriage increases.
The longer you are married, the more marriage-specific capital you accumulate and the greater the cost of divorce.
Lower costs of divorce help explain why cohabiting unions and same-sex unions are less stable than heterosexual marriages. Mutual Consent v. No-Fault Divorce: Mutual Consent v. No-Fault Divorce During the 1970s and 1980s a large number of states switched their divorce laws from mutual consent to no-fault
Under mutual consent both parties must agree to divorce for the divorce to be granted
Under no-fault one party may seek a divorce without the other’s consent and without stating any specific reason for the divorce
Many people argue that the change in divorce law is at least partly responsible for the increase in the divorce rate—several studies have estimated that 15% to 25% of the increase in divorce is the result of the switch to no-fault divorce laws Theoretical Effect of Shift to No-Fault Divorce: Theoretical Effect of Shift to No-Fault Divorce Regardless of a state’s divorce law, if neither party wants a divorce then they will not divorce and if both parties want a divorce they will divorce.
This shift will only impact those marriages where one party wants a divorce and the other does not—assume only the husband wants a divorce (he perceives that he will be better off divorced than married) Theoretical Effect of Shift to No-Fault Divorce: Theoretical Effect of Shift to No-Fault Divorce If the husband’s perceived benefit from divorce exceeds his wife’s perceived loss then the couple will divorce under no-fault or mutual consent laws, however, under mutual consent the husband would have to bribe the wife into agreeing to the divorce.
If the husband’s perceived benefit from divorce is less than his wife’s perceived loss then the couple will not divorce under either set of laws because the wife will be able to bribe the husband into staying married.
In sum, the switch from mutual consent to no-fault divorce should not affect the divorce rate but should result in lower alimony and child support awards. Evidence: Evidence The switch to no-fault divorce laws may have contributed (as much as 25%) to the increase in the divorce rate but it is difficult to disentangle this effect from the effect of changes in social norms.
Evidence from California indicates that the size of alimony and child support awards declined significantly after the state switched from mutual consent to no-fault divorce.
The switch from mutual consent to no-fault divorce seems to have reduced the rates of suicide, domestic violence, and spousal homicide for women (Wolfers and Stevenson, 2004) Polygamy: Polygamy Polygamy refers to all marital arrangements involving at least three people with at least one person of each sex.
Historically, polygyny, where men have more than one wife, has been more common than polyandry, where women have more than one husband because,
It is more difficult to establish paternity in polyandrous marriages
Polygynous marriages greatly increase the husband’s fertility while having only a small negative effect on the wives’ fertility while polyandrous marriages slightly increase the wife’s fertility and have a large negative effect on the husbands’ fertility Polygamy: Polygamy In order for polygamy to be optimal it must be the case that there is a relative shortage of men or that there are large differences in productivity among men.
In the latter case, total marital output may be maximized if some men take multiple wives while other men remain single.
The marginal product of wives must diminish as their numbers increase or the most productive man would marry all the women Polygamy Example (Becker): Polygamy Example (Becker) Assume a society composed of two identical women (single output = 5) and two different men (single outputs = 8 and 15)
The marital outputs are 14 and 27 if each man has one wife and 18 and 35 if each has two wives.
Under monogamy, total marital output = 14 + 27 = 41
Under polygamy, total marital output = 35 + 8 = 43
One equilibrium division of output would have the more able man getting 21 and the wives getting 7 each
Polygamy Evidence: Polygamy Evidence Evidence supports the theory that polygamy would be more common among more productive men (more wealth, more land, more power, etc.)
Bridewealth or brideprices are common in polygynous societies, otherwise there would be excess demand for brides. Becker sites this as evidence that polygyny tends to increase women’s incomes.
Dowries, on the other hand, are more common in monogamous societies
As expected, the incidence of polygyny decreases as fertility decreases.
Women tend to marry earlier and men later in polygynous societies
Effect of Love on Marriage: Effect of Love on Marriage In economic terms, love implies that one person cares about the commodity consumption of another person and, as a result, their utility function would include both their own consumption and the consumption of their loved one.
In the case of full caring, an individual receives as much utility from the commodity consumption of his loved one as he does from his own consumption.