The External Effects of Black-Male Incarceration on Black Females

47 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2007

Date Written: June 2007


This paper examines how the increase in the incarceration of Black men and the sex ratio imbalance it induces shape young Black women's behaviors. Combining data from the BJS and the CPS to match incarceration rates with individual observations, I show that Black-male incarceration lowers the odds of non-marital teenage fertility while increasing young Black women's school attainment and early employment. The evidence in support of a negative impact of Black-male incarceration on marriage is less persuasive. Results using prison capacity expansions as an instrument, drawing on the incarceration of presumably minor offenders, provide germane estimates of the impact of male incarceration on women's decisions.

Keywords: incarceration, Black, Sex ratio, prison, fertility, education, employment, marriage

JEL Classification: I21, J12, J13, J15, J22, J24, K42

Suggested Citation

Mechoulan, Stephane, The External Effects of Black-Male Incarceration on Black Females (June 2007). 2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Stephane Mechoulan (Contact Author)

Dalhousie University ( email )

6100 University Avenue
Halifax, Nova Scotia

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