NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Riley Wilson

University of Maryland, College Park
Department of Economics
3114 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD, 20742

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2017Male Earnings, Marriageable Men, and Nonmarital Fertility: Evidence from the Fracking Boom
with Melissa S. Kearney: w23408
There has been a well-documented retreat from marriage among less educated individuals in the U.S. and non-marital childbearing has become the norm among young mothers and mothers with low levels of education. One hypothesis is that the declining economic position of men in these populations is at least partially responsible for these trends. That leads to the reverse hypothesis that an increase in potential earnings of less-educated men would correspondingly lead to an increase in marriage and a reduction in non-marital births. To investigate this possibility, we empirically exploit the positive economic shock associated with localized “fracking booms” throughout the U.S. in recent decades. We confirm that these localized fracking booms led to increased wages for non-college-educated men....
 
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