1. What are the benefits of marriage? How does marriage benefit individuals? And marriage benefits the society too? As Waite argued, do people will change their behavior once they are informed the benefits of marriage just like they respond to the evidence of medical research such as reducing or quitting smoking?

2. What are the economic contexts of contemporary marriage and did they change compared to those in the past? Through which mechanism, do they affect the decision making such as marriage timing and the pattern of labor force participation (of men and women)?

3. What is the affordability of marriage? What factors determine the affordability to enter into marriage? These factors are solely determined by “economic” conditions? Or are there any social, racial differentials affecting them? And if there are, to what extent these differentials are influential?

4. How the “career-entry and development processes” influence the young men’s marriage timing? What differentials lead to substantial variations in marriage timing? Do you think how this explanation can help us understanding the changes in marriage timing (delayed marriage) compared to the economic approach (by Becker, et al.)?

5. Some researchers including Oppenheimenr and Sweeney argued that the economic foundations of marriage were shifting. They also claim that Becker’s specialization and trading model may not provide an appropriate understanding of contemporary marriage, which attribute recent declines in marriage mainly to improvements in women’s labor market position. Do you find which theoretical frames explain better the recent trends and changes in the marriage?

6. What are the strength of cultural/ interpersonal explanations for marriage formation in fragile family posed by Carlson et.al.? What are the implications for policy makers to try to promote the marriage?

7. Whether women are evaluated by market production (proposed by Sweeney2002) or home production (proposed by Carlson et.al 2004) before they enter into marriage?

8. How can we understand the selectivity effect in studying the marriage pattern and people’s behavior?

9. What are the policy implications considering all the trends and changes in the marriage? And how do you evaluate the current policies related to marriage? Are there any policy options that you might suggest?

10. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using aggregate level data and individual longitudinal data when we examine the effect of economic context on marriage formation?

11. What is the discrete-time event-history methodology by Oppenheimer?

12. When understanding the relation between work-related factors and marriage formation, Oppenheimer mentioned that the explanatory variables often form a package – low education, underemployment and low earnings. How can we deal with the interactions among these variables and distinguish the effect of one variable from the others?
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1. What are the implications of the finding that black women “tend to place greater emphasis on economic stability in marital decision making than whites” paired with the reality that “black men have seen greater erosion in their own labor market position in recent decades than have white men” (Sweeney 2002:135)?

2. Why is the distinction between economic prospects and economic circumstances crucial to the evaluation of theoretically derived hypotheses about the economics of marriage?

3. Sociological theories and empirical analyses of marriage behavior rarely address factors such as love or sexual attraction. Why not?

4. Three of the papers use event-history models. What is a discrete-time event history analysis? What is a proportional hazards model?

5. Why is it fundamentally important to control for school enrollment in analyses of the relationship between educational attainment and marriage timing? How do you do this?

6. How do Oppenheimer and colleagues generate the figures in Figure 3 from the results of their models?

7. Taking all of the papers together, what is your conclusion about the extent to which marriage is influenced by economic circumstances? How about gender differences in the relationship between economic circumstances and marriage? Class differences? Temporal change?

8. What is the theoretical relevance of attempting to distinguish between delayed marriage and non-marriage?