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The Effect of Early Marriage on the Educational Attainment of Young Men

Alan C. Kerckhoff and Alan A. Parrow
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Feb., 1979), pp. 97-107
DOI: 10.2307/351735
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351735
Page Count: 11
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The Effect of Early Marriage on the Educational Attainment of Young Men
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Abstract

Using the young men's sample of The National Longitudinal Surveys of Labor Market Experience, the effects of early marriage are assessed within a multivariate model of educational attainment. Analyses are conducted for seven separate subsamples of young males, homogeneous with respect to race and age, who were unmarried and in school in 1966. By 1970, those in the younger age cohorts of both races who had married in the interim had significantly less education, even after the effects of a powerful set of other predictive variables are taken into account. Prior educational attainment as well as age at marriage is an important variable in the analysis; age at marriage has a depressing effect for those in high school at age 17 but not for those in college at the same age. Several other analyses were conducted to avoid misinterpretation of this basic finding. In particular, it was found that those in the younger cohorts who had married early not only had less educational attainment but were also less likely to be enrolled in school in 1970 and had lower educational aspirations in 1970. It is suggested that future analyses of the effects of early marriage on educational attainment will need to consider both age at marriage and attainment at marriage. Failure to do so may lead to an overestimation of the effects of SES of origin and an underestimation of the effects of age at marriage.

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