Even the most persnickety economists will tend to grant that whether there is this geological formation under your county is probably exogenous to family formation preferences.
A genuine research opportunity
First let me be clear that we are not looking at North Dakota and Montana, in what’s called the Bakken region up there.
The data do show that in response to these increased economic activity and earnings potential we do see an increase in births. But interestingly there’s the same response among married births and nonmarried births and no increase in marriage
the nonmarital birth response is very different: a 10 percent increase in earnings associated with the coal boom actually led to a reduction in nonmarital births
So a coal boom produced more marriage, more kids and fewer kids born to unmarried moms; whereas a fracking boom produced more kids, but no more marriage and a lot more kids born to unmarried moms?
Not everyone sees the rise in nonmarital childbearing as a challenge, but if you look at the data on the economic circumstances of kids, it’s hard not to think of that as a challenge.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.