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Marriage, Labor Supply and Assortative Mating in South Africa

  • 2008-2010
  • Project
Kumchulesi, Grace, University of Cape Town

Study: “Marriage, Labor Supply and Assortative Mating in South Africa”
PI(s): Kumchulesi, Grace
Affiliation(s): University of Cape Town
Institutional Partner(s): IIE
Project Dates:
Start: August 2008
End: June 2010
Data Source(s): Cross-Sectional Data
Methods: Blinder-Oaxaca Decomposition Technique
Geographic Location(s): South Africa

The broad objective of the study was to investigate declining marriages in post-apartheid South Africa. The specific objectives were threefold. First, using the independent surveys from 1995 to 2006 and employing the Age-Period-Cohort Model, the study disentangled marriage trends into age, period, and cohort effects to determine whether the change in marital patterns observed in the post-apartheid period was a real shift in marital behavior and not just a trend driven by change in sampling designs and erratic fluctuations. The second objective focused on the determinants of women’s marriage decisions. To this end, the study accounted for the interdependence between female labor force participation and marriage decisions by estimating simultaneous equation models using the two-step procedure. The third objective provided an explanation of the trend toward fewer marriages. The analysis from the previous objective signified that age, education, labor market status, availability of potential partners, and location were all important factors in a woman’s marriage decision. However, samples drawn from the population at different points in time likely lead to observations that were not identically distributed. The population may have had different distributions in variables across time. Thus, simply comparing estimated coefficients from different cross-sections did not clarify whether marriage decline was a result of change in coefficients or change in characteristics.

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