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

With Guillaume Vandenbroucke (University of Southern California)


Unmarried people undoubtedly differ in their preferences for marriage, and such differences are likely to be linked to their preferences for children. We propose a model of people searching for marriage partners in which ageing and fertility propensities determine  marriage probabilities. We apply our model to a quantitative analysis of the post-war marriage boom that began in France in 1918. We find that wartime shocks to the marriage market are perpetuated across generations and cause persistent increases in marital birthrates. Heterogeneity in women’s propensity to bear children accounts for most of the increase in marriage relative to trend. We sketch out other applications, notably the impact of the one-child policy in China on marriage rates.

Keywords: Family Economics, Household Formation, Marriage, Fertility.

JEL Classification: D10, E13, J12,J13,and O11.