Marriage Markets and Family Formation: The Role of the Vietnam Draft

Marianne Bitler, University of California, Irvine
Lucie Schmidt, Williams College

In this paper, we exploit variation across states and over time on the number of men aged 19-25 drafted in each state and year to analyze the effects of the Vietnam War mobilization on fertility behavior from 1968-1978. We find that having a higher share of men of this age drafted in ones' state leads to lower birthrates of women 20-24 with men aged 19-25 while leading to higher birthrates for women 20-24 with men slightly older. For teens, a higher share of men drafted leads to a reduction in births for which no paternal information is reported on the birth certificate. This evidence is consistent with changes in assortative mating.

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Presented in Session 172: Marriage in Historical Perspective