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The Relationship between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood

Derek Neal
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 39, No. 4 (Autumn, 2004), pp. 938-957
DOI: 10.2307/3559033
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3559033
Page Count: 20
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The Relationship between Marriage Market Prospects and Never-Married Motherhood
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Abstract

Many studies document a clear relationship between the supply of marriageable men and marriage rates, but few studies find that the supply of marriageable men affects the number of women who choose to be single mothers. The model presented here addresses this puzzle. Many women view either marriage or single motherhood as an inframarginal choice because a third option, remaining single without children, is relatively attractive to them. Regression models that implicitly treat all women as potential mothers, who simply choose whether to raise children inside or outside marriage, may yield false inferences concerning the relationship between marriage markets prospects and family structure choices.

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