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

69 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2018

See all articles by Michela Carlana

Michela Carlana

Harvard Kennedy School

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 31, 2018


In this paper, we study the effects of immigration on natives’ marriage, fertility, and family formation across US cities between 1910 and 1930. Instrumenting immigrants’ location decision by interacting pre-existing ethnic settlements with aggregate migration flows, we find that immigration raised marriage rates, the probability of having children, and the propensity to leave the parental house 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 also 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.

JEL Classification: J12, J13, J61, N32

Suggested Citation

Carlana, Michela and Tabellini, Marco, Happily Ever After: Immigration, Natives’ Marriage, and Fertility (July 31, 2018). HKS Working Paper No. RWP18-035. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3274740 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3274740

Michela Carlana (Contact Author)

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

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

Marco Tabellini

Harvard Business School ( email )

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

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