Nuptiality Regimes and Educational Expansion in Latin America: Revisiting the Stability Hypothesis

Luis A. Lopez, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Jeroen J. A. Spijker, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Albert Esteve, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)

One of the most salient features of Latin American marriage regimes lies in the stability of timing at union formation over time, despite changes that have taken place regarding educational expansion and the incorporation of women into the labor force. We use recently harmonized international census microdata for 10 Latin American countries from the 1970s and the 2000s to examine the mechanisms by which educational expansion did not have an influence on aggregated indicators of timing at union formation. Results from the decompositional analysis show that this apparent stability was produced by contrasting shifts that occurred in different educational groups. In most countries, the postponement effect that the educational expansion was expected to carry out has been offset by earlier union formation (mostly through non-marital cohabitation) among the least (and formally largest) educational groups, while university graduates have delayed union formation.

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Presented in Session 62: Demography of Latin America