Happily Ever After: Immigration, Natives’ Marriage, and Fertility

37 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2018 Last revised: 14 Dec 2020

See all articles by Michela Carlana

Michela Carlana

Harvard Kennedy School

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School

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Date Written: November 20, 2020


We study the effects of immigration on natives’ marriage, fertility, and family formation across US cities between 1910 and 1930 using a shift-share design. We find that natives living in cities that received more immigrants were more likely to marry, have kids, and leave the parental house earlier. Our evidence suggests that the positive impact of immigration on native men’s employment, which increased the supply of native “marriageable men”, contributed to generate these patterns. Instead, alternative channels – changes in sex ratios, natives’ cultural reactions, and economic competition for native women – are unlikely to, alone, explain our results.

JEL Classification: J12, J13, J61, N32

Suggested Citation

Carlana, Michela and Tabellini, Marco, Happily Ever After: Immigration, Natives’ Marriage, and Fertility (November 20, 2020). Harvard Business School BGIE Unit Working Paper No. 19-004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3220422 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3220422

Michela Carlana

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Marco Tabellini (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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