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Kearney and Wilson cited on 'marriageable male' phenomenon

Paper based on Center Seed Grant profiled

Writing for the Washington Post Wonkblog, Danielle Paquette examines findings from a paper by Faculty Associate Melissa Kearney and Student Affiliate Riley Wilson that indicate a fundamental change in the way males are evaluated in the marriage market.

The paper examines "the romantic progress of men without college degrees in states at the center of the United States' oil and natural gas boom," Paquette writes. "What she found surprised her."

Rather than seeing a continuation of the pattern that boom times bring baby booms almost exclusively for married couples, the data in their study led Kearney and Wilson to observe that "the commitment to childbearing with marriage in the 70s and 80s is just no longer there."

The two scholars calculated that every $1,000 per capita increase in an area's fracking production was linked to an additional six births per 1,000 women. Only half of the children were born to married parents.

See the Washington Post article

This research was also cited by the editors of The Economist who conclude : "good times used to mean more wedding bells and babies, whereas now they just mean the latter. The policy prescriptions are not obvious. Whether or not people get married is their own business. But the finding does offer some comfort to those who worry that declining marriage rates are purely the product of worsening economic prospects for men. Clearly, some other factor is at play."

See The Economist article

See the NBER paper