Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?

40 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2014

See all articles by Michael Malcolm

Michael Malcolm

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

George Naufal

Texas A&M University; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Economic Research Forum (ERF)


Substitutes for marital sexual gratification may impact the decision to marry. Proliferation of the Internet has made pornography an increasingly low-cost substitute. We investigate the effect of Internet usage, and of pornography consumption specifically, on the marital status of young men. We show that increased Internet usage is negatively associated with marriage formation. Pornography consumption specifically has an even stronger effect. Instrumental variables and a number of robustness checks suggest that the effect is causal.

Keywords: pornography, divorce, marital formation

JEL Classification: J12, O33

Suggested Citation

Malcolm, Michael and Naufal, George Sami, Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8679, Available at SSRN: or

Michael Malcolm (Contact Author)

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

George Sami Naufal

Texas A&M University ( email )

Public Policy Research Institute
4476 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Economic Research Forum (ERF) ( email )

21 Al-Sad Al-Aaly St.
(P.O. Box: 12311)
Dokki, Cairo

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