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Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics

Female marriage probabilities were 50% higher in France in the years after World War 1, despite a large drop in the sex ratio. We develop a model of marital matching in which composition effects in the singles pool affect post-disruption matching rates. When calibrated to French data from World War 1, this mechanism explains 2/3 of the post-war rise in female marriage probabilities as the result of better composition of the pool of single men. We conclude that endogeneity issues make the sex ratio a potentially unreliable indicator of female marriage prospects.

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