More Choice for Men? Marriage Patterns after World War II in Italy

34 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Erich Battistin

Erich Battistin

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics; University of Warwick

Luca Nunziata

University of Padua

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020


We investigate how changes in the sex ratio induced by World War II affected the bargaining patterns of Italian men in the marriage market after the war. Marriage data from the first wave of the Italian Household Longitudinal Survey (1997) are matched with newly digitized information on war casualties coming from Italian National Bureau of Statistics. We find that men in post-war marriages were better off in terms of their spouse's education, this gain amounting to about half a year of education. By considering heterogeneity across provinces, we find that the effects were more pronounced in more rural provinces, mountainous provinces, and those with a higher share of population employed in agriculture. This suggests that here, the shock provided for a more fundamental change in marriage patterns compared to urban, lower-lying, and less agricultural provinces where marriage markets might have been more flexible to begin with.

Keywords: education, Marriage, Sex ratio, World War II

JEL Classification: J12, N34

Suggested Citation

Battistin, Erich and Becker, Sascha O. and Nunziata, Luca, More Choice for Men? Marriage Patterns after World War II in Italy (May 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14698, Available at SSRN:

Erich Battistin (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Sascha O. Becker

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3

University of Warwick ( email )

Gibbet Hill Rd.
Coventry, West Midlands CV4 8UW
United Kingdom

Luca Nunziata

University of Padua

35131 Padua

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