"There was a time when the phrase "American family" conjured up a single, specific image: a breadwinner dad, a homemaker mom, and their 2.5 kids living comfortable lives in a middle-class suburb. Today, that image has been shattered, due in part to skyrocketing divorce rates, single parenthood, and increased out-of-wedlock births. But whether it is conservatives bewailing the wages of moral decline and women's liberation, or progressives celebrating the result of women's greater freedom and changing sexual mores, most Americans fail to identify the root factor driving the changes: economic inequality that is remaking the American family along class lines. In Marriage Markets, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn, co-authors of Red Families v. Blue Families, examine how macroeconomic forces are transforming our most intimate and important spheres, and how working class and lower income families have paid the highest price. Just like health, education, and seemingly every other advantage in life, a stable two-parent home has become a luxury that only the well-off can afford. The best educated and most prosperous have the most stable families, while working class families have seen the greatest increase in relationship instability. Why is this so? This book offers a new answer: it is due to the economics of marriage markets, and of how men and women match up when they search for a life partner. For instance, when eligible (i.e., desirable and marriageable) men outnumber eligible women, the marriage and marital stability rates are significantly higher than when the reverse situation occurs - the exact situation we have in America today. The failure to see marriage as a market affected by supply and demand has obscured any meaningful analysis of the way that societal changes influence culture. Only policies that redress the balance between men and women through greater access to education, stable employment, and opportunities for social mobility can a culture that encourages commitment and investment in family life. A rigorous and enlightening account of why American families have changed so much in recent decades, Marriage Markets cuts through the ideological and moralistic rhetoric that drives our current debate and offers real insight into-and solutions for-a problem that will haunt America for generations to come"-- Provided by publisher.
Class, marriage markets, and the new foundations for family life Blinded by the light Blaming the victim : the morality tale Getting closer : the rediscovery of marriage markets The heart of the matter Where the men are Remaking class barriers : children and achievement The re-creation of class The law : rewriting the marital script shared parenting : egalitarian, patriarchal, or both? Rebuilding from the top down : the family, inequality, and employment Rebuilding from the bottom up : addressing children's needs Sex, power, patriarchy, and parental obligation The death of family law and prospects for its rebirth.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 203-245) and index.