David de la Croix and Fabio Mariani
|Sponsor||Project Title||IRES Promoters||IRES Researchers||Beginning||End|
Human capital and secularization: Civil vs religious marriages in Italy
This research is concerned with the interplay between human capital accumulation and secularization, as measured by the prevalence of civil marriages.
By taking advantage of Census data for Italy (panel of ~ 8000 municipalities, 1971-2011) and a dataset of exceptional quality covering all Italian marriages from 1969 to 2017, we first aim at establishing empirically a robust correlation between educational attainment and civil marriages. We also want to understand how the above correlation depends on socio-economic factors (such as social capital and family ties), varies across space and evolves over time - namely after the legalization of divorce in 1970. Moreover, our data allow us to link the secularization process with gender, marriage-market characteristics, and inequality.
In order to make sense of our empirical results, we propose a theory which focuses on the economic incentives related to marriage, while remaining agnostic about possible direct effects of human capital on religiosity (through critical thinking, scientific knowledge, etc.). We thus build a model in which education, religiosity and marriage type are optimally chosen by utility-maximizing individuals. In this framework, we determine the equilibrium share of civil marriages, see how it is related to average human capital and religious practice, and analyze the consequences of the legalization of divorce.
We also investigate a politico-economic extension of our model, where political preferences towards the legalization of divorce arise endogenously and depend on education, religiosity and marriage choices. The results of the model can be brought back to the data, relying on newly collected information (at the municipality level) from the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce.
Over the last century, marriage and the family have undergone radical evolutions. New patterns such as blended families or same-sex couples have emerged, divorce rates have increased, and fertility has gone down. These trends are both the cause and the outcome of value changes. By gathering economists from IRES and demographers from DEMO, this project aims at shedding light on the mechanisms that drive this type of family transformations, and on their consequences. Two main research directions will be developed. The first concerns the formation of the couple. It will notably investigate the evolution, drivers and consequences of the matching between partners; the emergence of new forms of marriages and their coexistence with old ones; and the interactions between the degree of endogamy in the society and economic development across time and space. The second part of the project focuses on the construction of the family and choices in terms of fertility, and will notably document the phenomenon of childlessness, the optimal age for pregnancy, and the interactions between religion and fertility. Across these various issues and following the fil rouge of the family cycle – from the formation of the couple to the enlargement of the family –, interactions and complementarities between the two disciplines and their different methodologies are expected to be very beneficial.
|David de la Croix et Fabio Mariani||2015||2020|