11. Wilcox et al., Why Marriage Matters; David Ribar, “What Do Social Scientists Know about the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies,” IZA Discussion Paper # 998 (Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor, January 2004), http://ftp.iza.org/dp998.pdf.
12. Examples of habits, traits, and disadvantages that may lead to negative life outcomes (which are costly to taxpayers) and to a lack of marriage, to divorce, and to nonmarital childbearing include not considering the impact of present actions and choices on the future, proclivity to violence, and a lack of employment skills.
13. See, for example, P. R. Amato and R. A. Maynard, “Decreasing Nonmarital Births and Strengthening Marriage to Reduce Poverty,” The Future of Children 17, no. 2 (Fall 2007): 75–96.
14. G. S. Becker, A Treatise on the Family (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981) pro- vides the seminal economic explanation: specialization and exchange and economies of scale. Ribar, “What Do Social Scientists Know?” provides an extensive review of the empirical literature on these effects. For example, Ginther and Zavodny suggest that marriage leads to a causal increase in male labor supply; see D. Ginther and M. Zavodny, “Is the Male Marriage Premium Due to Selection? The Effect of Shotgun Weddings on the Return to Marriage,” Journal of Population Economics 14 (2001): 313–328.
15. In a forthcoming article in the Journal of Human Resources titled “The Effect of Marital Breakup on the Income Distribution of Women with Children,” Elizabeth O. Ananat and Guy Michaels use exogenous variation in the sex of the firstborn child to estimate the impact of divorce on income. Prior studies have shown that marriages in which the firstborn child is male are less likely to end in divorce (see, e.g., K. Bedard and O. Deschenes, “Sex Preferences, Marital Dissolution, and the Economic Status of Women,” Journal of Human Resources 40, no. 2 [Spring 2005]: 411–434).
Ananat and Michaels, “The Effects of Marital Breakup,” table 3.
Robert Lerman, “The Impact of the Changing U.S. Family Structure on Child Poverty and
Income Inequality” Economica 63 (1996): S119–S139.
18. In “For Richer or for Poorer: Marriage as an Antipoverty Strategy,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 21, no. 4 (2002): 587–599, Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill (like Lerman) did not match all single mothers with husbands. They report that there were more than enough single white males to marry all single white mothers in the CPS, but there was a shortage of single black males to marry all single black mothers. In many low-income communities, women probably outnumber mar- riageable men, because of higher death and incarceration rates of males, meaning it would not be the- oretically possible to marry all single mothers. They suggest that the lack of marriageable black males or the reported undercount of minorities in the CPS could be responsible for the dearth of black males available in the CPS. In addition to black males, there is likely also a shortage of elderly males of all races eligible to marry elderly females because of higher death rates at younger ages among males.
Ribar, “What Do Social Scientists Know?” 38–46.
See Hilary Hoynes, Marianne Page, and Ann Stevens, “Poverty in America: Trends and
Explanation,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20, no. 1 (Winter 2006): 47–68, published by the American Economic Association; and R. Blank and D. Card, “Poverty, Income Distribution and Growth: Are They Still Related?” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 48, no.2 (1993): 285–340, pub- lished by The Brookings Institution.
Thomas and Sawhill, “For Richer or for Poorer.”
Robert M. O’Brien and Jean Stockard, “The Cohort-size Same-size Conundrum: An Empirical
Analysis and Assessment Using Homicide Arrest Data from 1960 to 1999,” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 19 (2003): 1–32.
23. Cynthia Harper and Sara McLanahan, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14, no. 3 (2004): 369–397. Harper and McLanahan do not attempt to control for unobserved selection effects, which limits our confidence that all of the large differences in risk of incarceration they found due to family structure are causally related to parents’ marital status. However, the large number of control variables in their empirical model and the large magnitudes of their results make it hard to believe that the impact of family fragmentation of boys’ and young men’s criminal conduct is zero.
24. Robert Sampson, J. Laub, and C. Wimer, “Does Marriage Reduce Crime? A Counterfactual Approach to Within-Individual Causal Effects,” Criminology 44, no. 3 (2006): 465–504.
25. Paul R. Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk: Growing Up in an Era of Family Upheaval (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997), 220. While the theoretical and empirical case for marriage having a beneficial impact on men, women, and children may be strong, surely in some cases spouses and children are better off without one parent in the home. For example, a woman and children may be better off without the father when the father is violent or when the marriage is high- conflict. In “Until Death Do You Part: The Effects of Unilateral Divorce on Spousal Homicides,”