Marriage and the Global Economic Crisis

Daniel Schneider, Princeton University

I exploit the exogenous shock to household wealth created by the Global Economic Crisis to assess the recently advanced theory that wealth has become an important pre-requisite of marriage. I draw on a unique set of survey data collected in the summer of 2009 in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany that contains information on changes in wealth and on changes in marital intentions. I show that wealth loss is strongly associated with being less likely to marry as a result of the economic crisis. However, contrary to theory, I find little evidence of significant variation in the relationship between wealth and first marriage across these five countries.

  See paper

Presented in Session 41: Families in Comparative Perspective