More choice for men? Marriage patterns after World War II in Italy

E. Battistin, S.O. Becker, L. Nunziata*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigate how changes in the sex ratio induced by World War II affected the bargaining patterns of Italian men in the marriage market. Marriage data from the first wave of the Italian Household Longitudinal Survey (1997) are matched with newly digitized information on war casualties coming from the Italian National Bureau of Statistics. We find that men in post-war marriages were better off in terms of their spouse's education, this gain amounting to about half a year of schooling. By considering heterogeneity across provinces, we find that the effects were more pronounced in rural provinces, mountainous provinces, and provinces with a higher share of population employed in agriculture. This result suggests that in these provinces the war caused a more fundamental change in marriage patterns compared to urban, lower-lying, and less agricultural provinces where marriage markets might have been more flexible to begin with.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2054089221000146
Pages (from-to)447-472
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Demographic Economics
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Education
  • marriage
  • sex ratio
  • World War II


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