Reconsidering Marital Exchange: A Comparison of First Marriage and Remarriage Patterns in the United States

Kevin Shafer, Arkansas State University

Divorce and subsequent remarriage have become an important part of American family life in recent decades. However, there are significant gender differences in the likelihood and formation of remarriage. In first marriage, both men's and women's socioeconomic status is positively associated with first marriage formation—a move away from traditional marriage where men's, but not women's, economic status was important in the marriage market. However, empirical work focusing on the claim that first marriage and remarriage formation are similar is lacking. In this paper I analyze the individual characteristics associated with the likelihood of remarriage for men and women. The preliminary results show remarriage patterns consistent with traditional marriages where economic status has a positive effect on remarriage for men, but not for women. For women, family background, race/ethnicity, age and parental status are associated with remarriage. These results call for additional analyses which directly compare first marriage and remarriage.

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Presented in Poster Session 4