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In line with this, table 6 shows that for low-skilled women, a higher relative wage leads to postponement of marriage both at younger (22–30) and older (31–44) ages, while for high-skilled women, a higher relative wage appears to only delay marriage at younger ages. This pattern of responses can help to explain two salient trends across these groups: increasing age at first marriage for all women and reduction6 in marriage between ages 33 to 44 among low-skilled women (Lundberg et al., 2016). As might be expected, a higher relative wage leads to increased divorce between ages 31 and 44, but not between ages 22 and 30, for both groups of women.

Table 6.

Postponing or Opting Out? Differential Responses by Age and Education

22–3031–44
A: Never Married   
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × Low Skill 0.033** 0.038*** 
 (0.013) (0.011) 
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × High Skill 0.091*** −0.029* 
 (0.017) (0.016) 
Observations 9,286 14,287 
Mean Y - Low Skill 0.322 0.125 
Mean Y - High Skill 0.469 0.145 
B: Divorce   
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × Low Skill −0.005 0.022** 
 (0.007) (0.010) 
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × High Skill 0.009 0.042*** 
 (0.009) (0.015) 
Observations 9,286 14,287 
Mean Y - Low Skill 0.076 0.130 
Mean Y - High Skill 0.050 0.129 
22–3031–44
A: Never Married   
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × Low Skill 0.033** 0.038*** 
 (0.013) (0.011) 
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × High Skill 0.091*** −0.029* 
 (0.017) (0.016) 
Observations 9,286 14,287 
Mean Y - Low Skill 0.322 0.125 
Mean Y - High Skill 0.469 0.145 
B: Divorce   
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × Low Skill −0.005 0.022** 
 (0.007) (0.010) 
Effect of 10% Increase in Rel. Wage × High Skill 0.009 0.042*** 
 (0.009) (0.015) 
Observations 9,286 14,287 
Mean Y - Low Skill 0.076 0.130 
Mean Y - High Skill 0.050 0.129 

This table shows the coefficients from estimating equation (1) interacted with indicators for education rescaled to represent the effect of a 10% increase in the relative (potential) wage. Interactions of the average potential wage with education are also included. The age of the sample is shown in the column heading. Standard errors are clustered at the state level, and cells are weighted by the female population in the cell. *p< 0.10, **p< 0.05, and ***p< 0.01.

Source: Census 1980, 1990, 2000, and ACS 2010.

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