Selection into marriage and family
- In this dissertation project, I investigate three separate topics about selection into marriage and family. Together, these three papers demonstrate how interest in marriage and marriage behavior differ by social strata. I briefly highlight the findings of the three papers below. In the first paper, I evaluate the ability of three leading hypotheses, the Sex-Ratio, Interest in Marriage, and Standards of Marriage, to explain Black men and women's lower propensity to marry than Whites. I attach indicators of county marriage market conditions, specifically race-specific sex-ratios adjusted for age and employment from the 2000 Census, to men and women's individual records and marriage histories in Wave 3 (2000-2001) and Wave 4 (2008-2009) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Discrete-time event-history models demonstrate that the Black-White marriage gap persists when Sex-Ratio, Interest in Marriage and Standards of Marriage are accounted for. Additionally, Blacks and Whites have similar interest in marriage within sex, yet Black men and women are still less likely to marry than their White peers, even among those who explicitly express that they want to be married now. Additional individual characteristics such as relationship status and satisfaction also do not explain the Black-White marriage gap. While Blacks face material disadvantages and constraints in the marriage market that are unparalleled, these challenges do not explain the Black-White marriage gap. The results of this study suggest that explanations for the Black-White marriage gap lay beyond existing hypotheses. In the second paper, I use the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to test whether interest in marriage differs by education and estimate the degree to which education attainment increases anticipation of marriage. I find a cross-sectional positive relationship between education and interest in marriage, and using fixed-effects regression models, I find that increased education causes increased anticipation of marriage. This suggests that the positive relationship between educational achievement and attitudes towards marriage is not wholly explained by selection of those with particular individual traits or predispositions towards marriage into education, rather, education causally influences individuals to anticipate marriage for themselves. In the third paper, I consider how technology that allows women greater control over reproduction has influenced family formation trends. The hormonal birth control pill spurred a contraceptive revolution that aided the uncoupling of sex from marriage and reproduction. More recently, the ability to conceive a child on one's own using donor insemination further decouples reproduction from marriage and partnership. I interview 42 heterosexual women who used donor insemination to become mothers on their own. While the women were interested in marriage and had intended to marry, they found themselves at a crossroads where their fertility timeline was stretching thin, but they were not ready to curtail their marital search. By using Assisted Reproductive Technology, women were able to reproduce within the confines of their fertility timeline, and extend their marital search. They created the children that they wanted without having to settle for a partner less than their ideals. This allowed them greater freedom in the partners they could date, took pressure off their romantic relationships and reduced their urgency to marry. Like the birth control pill, Assisted Reproductive Technology has the capacity to shape women's behaviors, influence family formation patterns, and further decouple sex, marriage and reproduction.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Stanford University, Department of Sociology.
|Rosenfeld, Michael, 1943-
|Rosenfeld, Michael, 1943-
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of Sociology.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2015.
- © 2015 by Maja Francisca Falcon
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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