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Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics

With Guillaume Vandenbroucke


Low sex ratios are often equated with unfavourable marriage prospects for women, but in France after World War 1, the marriage probability of single females rose 50%, despite a massive drop in the male/female ratio. We conjecture that the war-time birth-rate bust induced an abnormal post-war abundance of singles with relatively high marriage propensities. We compute the equilibrium response, in a life-cycle matching model, of marriage hazards to war-time fertility and male-mortality shocks. Our results implicate two powerful forces: an abnormal abundance of marriageable men, and increased gains from marriage due to post-war pro-natalism.

Former Title: Dynamic Squeezing: Marriage and Fertility in France After World War One