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The Transition to Adulthood: Sex Differences in Educational Attainment and Age at Marriage

Margaret Mooney Marini
American Sociological Review
Vol. 43, No. 4 (Aug., 1978), pp. 483-507
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094774
Page Count: 25
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The Transition to Adulthood: Sex Differences in Educational Attainment and Age at Marriage
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Abstract

The transition to adulthood involves a number of role changes, but the timing of the transition in large part, is determined causally by educational attainment and age at marriage. These two variables are related positively for both sexes, but because women marry earlier than men, the relationship is stronger for women. Analyzing data from a fifteen year follow-up study of the high school students studied by Coleman in The Adolescent Society (1961), this paper examines sex differences in the determinants of educational attainment and age at first marriage and in the relationship between these two variables. The results, based on estimation of a simultaneous-equation model, indicate that women's earlier age at marriage is an important factor limiting their educational attainment. Age at first marriage has no significant effect on the educational attainments of men but has a stronger effect on the educational attainments of women than any of the variables usually considered in male models of the educational attainment process. Educational attainment also exerts a stronger effect on the timing of marriage for women than men, although it has a significant effect for both sexes.

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