DP14316 Happily Ever After: Immigration, Natives' Marriage and Fertility

Author(s): Michela Carlana, Marco Tabellini
Publication Date: January 2020
Keyword(s):
JEL(s): J12, J13, J61, N32
Programme Areas: Labour Economics, Public Economics, Economic History
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=14316

In this paper, we study the effects of immigration on natives' marriage, fertility, and family formation across U.S. cities between 1910 and 1930. Instrumenting immigrants' location decision by interacting national changes in migration flows across ethnic groups with pre-existing immigrants' enclaves across U.S. cities, we find that immigration raised marriage rates and the probability of having children for young native men and women. We show that these effects were driven by the large and positive impact of immigration on native men's employment and occupational standing, which increased the supply of "marriageable men." We explore alternative mechanisms-changes in sex ratios, natives' cultural responses, and displacement effects of immigrants on female employment-and provide evidence that none of them can account for a quantitatively relevant fraction of our results.