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Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics


With Guillaume Vandenbroucke




Abstract

Why did the marriage probability of single females in France after World War 1 rise 50% above its pre-war average, despite a 33% drop in the male/female singles ratio? We conjecture that war-time disruption of the marriage market generated an abnormal abundance of men with relatively high marriage propensities. Our model of matching over the lifecycle, when calibrated to pre-war data and two war-time shocks, succeeds in matching the marriage-hazard time path under the additional assumption of a pro-natalist post-war preference shock. We conclude that endogeneity issues make the sex ratio a potentially unreliable indicator of female marriage prospects.

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