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Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family Hardcover – May 1, 2014

ISBN-13: 978-0199916580 ISBN-10: 0199916586 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In easy-to-read prose, the authors also show how divorce courts erect barriers between poor dads and their children, while expanding the rights of rich dads. Changing attitudes about marriage require overhauling family law to both strengthen unions while ending the presumption that marriage is best for rearing children. David Cay Johnston, Books of the Year 2014, Newsweek Asking why fewer people marry, two American legal academics show how, over the decades, economic inequality has undermined the rationality of marriage for many and weakened the family. Books of the year 2014, The Economist

About the Author


June Carbone is the inaugural holder of the Robina Chair of Law, Science and Technology at the University of Minnesota. She is the author of From Partners to Parents: The Second Revolution in Family Law, the third and fourth editions of Family Law with Leslie Harris and the late Lee Teitelbaum, and Red Families v. Blue Families with Naomi Cahn. She is also a member of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project.

Naomi Cahn, the Harold H. Greene Professor at George Washington University Law School, has written numerous articles and several books in a variety of areas. With June Carbone, she has also co-authored Red Families v. Blue Families. Other books include: Finding Our Families (with Wendy Kramer); The New Kinship: Constructing Donor-Conceived Families; and co-authored casebooks in family law and trusts and estates. She is a Senior Fellow at the Donaldson Adoption Institute, a board member for the Donor Sibling Registry, and a member of the GW Global Gender Program advisory board.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199916586
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199916580
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.9 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #62,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Caitlin Martin on May 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Economic class divisions matter in the formation of families. Marriage Markets details the ways in which patterns of marriage and birth are different for the highest and lowest economic classes. For the top twenty percent of couples, 80% are married; the percentages more than reverse for the bottom twenty percent—fewer than 20% are married. The mating preferences of men and women in the top and bottom echelons have changed in the past fifty years, with high earning men caring much more about the income potential of their wives, and women all along the economic spectrum questioning whether marriage is a good deal for them, both in terms of money and control. The book is highly readable and sprinkled with stories that make the class issues come to life. It is an important book about marriage, family patterns, and class inequality, as well as the roles that laws play in the personal choices people make.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roger H. Anderson on September 14, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was prompted to read this book by the rather provocative title: imagining marriage to be an economic transaction, devoid of romantic, intimate love and hormonal chemistry. The very analytic, scholarly presentation by the authors, with facts and inferences drawn from a wide range of academic studies - reinforced by a dry, expository style - reaffirms the emotion-free, rational view of the institution.

I must say, however, that it is worth the effort to get through the 200 pages of relatively small font and consider the impressive amount of evidence gathered leading to the conclusion that here in America over the past 50 odd years, marriage has become a more pronounced marker for those with better educations, incomes, and other resources. And, as marriage goes in this direction, so goes trends in better childrearing and family stability. And for those moving in the other direction, just the opposite.

Becoming more aware of this trend is the first, necessary step to understanding what possibly might be done to change it to improve the prospects of perhaps two-thirds of the young adult (20's-30's) population, who - as trends seem to indicate - will fall further behind the economic attainment curve, with resulting negative consequences for their children's upbringing and family unity.

The author's principal conclusion that greater economic inequality - particularly among men - has produced this marriage market divisible into segments that seem to be growing more and more apart. They use educational attainment (i.e. college grads, high school grads, and less than high school education), as the basic building block to then explore the variables (e.g.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent analysis of the marital divide and legal ramifications in America and an interesting analysis together with Charles Murray's " Coming Apart."
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kristin B. Ayer on October 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the kind of change in thinking that could eventually effect families globally. We often hear the gee-whiz news, but often it is the grand stories that affect our daily lives very little if at all. However sometimes it is the under- reported news that changes more lives, the quiet, unnoticed changes in circumstances, thinking, and attitudes. In just 40 years it has become acceptable to consider not marrying and/or not having a family. There are also financial reasons playing into the decision. The research is interesting and compelling.
The only thing I have against the book was that some sentences were so constructed that I had to read them several times to understand the meaning. But this could be my fault, not the writer's.
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Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family
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