Search Results

Title: Forgotten Fathers: A Collection of Essays on Low-Skilled Men and Marriage
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Thomas, Adam Timothy
Forgotten Fathers: A Collection of Essays on Low-Skilled Men and Marriage
Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 2007
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT)
Keyword(s): Gender Differences; Incarceration/Jail; Marital Status; Marriage; Modeling, Logit; Parents, Single; Racial Differences; Wages, Men

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The first essay uses 1979 panel of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to examine the implications of incarceration rates for men's marital prospects. I find that black men are considerably less likely to marry if they have a prison record. The magnitude of the coefficient for the variable measuring past incarceration is reduced by about a third when earnings are controlled for. I also find that the strength of the relationship between incarceration and marriage diminishes as black men become further removed from their prison spells. Among whites, the effect of past incarceration on the predicted probability of marrying is not statistically differentiable from zero.

The second essay is motivated by a puzzle in the research literature: quantitative analyses tend to show that marriage is usually a financially-beneficial institution for low-income single mothers and their children, while, in the relevant qualitative literature, such women often identify men's limited financial resources as a key reason for their remaining unmarried. I attempt to identify the functional form of the relationship between men's earnings and their marital status, and I find that it is best described by using a transformed variable that expresses earnings as a percentile ranking relative to one's peers. I conclude that many low-skilled men may, as a condition of their marriageability, be required to demonstrate that they are at least as capable as their peers of improving their partners' financial prospects.

The third essay uses couple-level panel data on unmarried parents to examine the association between marital attitudes and expectations and relationship status. I find that unmarried couples hold overwhelmingly positive views of marriage but are more likely to break up than to marry over time. Multinomial logit results show that couples who are more optimistic about marriage are more likely to marry than to cohabit and are more likely to cohabit than to break up or to be romantically involved without living together. Measures of respondents' attitudes about gender roles and the trustworthiness of members of the opposite sex are also occasionally significant in the analyses of black and Hispanic couples.

Bibliography Citation
Thomas, Adam Timothy. Forgotten Fathers: A Collection of Essays on Low-Skilled Men and Marriage. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harvard University, 2007.