Volume 55, Part 1, 2001

Author Frans Van Poppel, Aart C Liefbroer, Jeroen K Vermunt and Wilma Smeenk
Love, necessity and opportunity: changing patterns of marital age homogamy in the Netherlands, 1850-1993

This article examines long-term trends in the pattern of age homogamy among first marriages, using vital registration data on all first marriages contracted between 1850 and 1993 in the Netherlands, After discussing the main mechanisms that could account for trends in age differences, we show that age differences between spouses narrowed considerably between 1850 and 1970. After 1970 the trend becomes less clear-cut.
pp. 1-13

Authors Francesco C Billari
A log-logistic regression model for a transition rate with a starting threshold 

The paper presents a new type of parametric transition rate model that is particularly suitable for studying household and union information. In such studies, it is often not easy to determine the moment at which individuals actually enter the population at risk - or at least when the risk begins to become socially important. Even in the presence of regulations stipulated by law, one might be interested in studying 'social' timetables.

We assume that there is a constant rate for any duration and that after a certain threshold point a log-logistic rate is added, with this threshold as its time origin. This can be justified in a behavioural sense by assuming that random and social transitions arise from separate processes. We then apply the model to union formation in Italy and show how threshold and intensity effects generated by theoretical hypotheses can be revealed.
pp. 15-24

Authors John E Murray and Bradley A Lagger
Involuntary childlessness and voluntary fertility control during the fertility transition: evidence from men who graduate from an American college

Influences on the fertility of men during the American fertility decline are examined using a sample of about 1,700 married men born between 1830 and 1880, all of whom attended Amherst College, Massachusetts. We consider two types of reduced fertility: involuntary childlessness as a function of health in early adulthood, and voluntary fertility control as a function of access to contraceptive technology.

The relation between health, as measured by body mass index, and childlessness was nonlinear, with average sized men significantly more likely ever to father children than thin or bulky men. Among men who ever fathered a child, physicians fathered significantly fewer children while having probabilities of childlessness that were statistically indistinguishable from those of other men. Physicians may have had greater access to relatively new contraceptive technologies, which suggests a role of voluntary fertility control. 
pp. 25-36

Authors Michael Murphy and Duolao Wang
Do previous birth interval and mother's education influence infant survival? A Bayesian model averaging analysis of Chinese data

We examine the effect of socio-economic covariates on infant mortality in China in the 1980s, particularly the role of previous birth interval and mother's education, using an event history approach with data from the 1988 Two per Thousand Fertility Survey. We use a Bayesian model averaging strategy that takes account of model uncertainty as well as parameter uncertainty. A standard stepwise logistic regression analysis finds no statistically significant relationship between the preceding birth interval and infant survival after controlling for socio-demographic factors, but this finding is reversed when the Bayesian model averaging approach is adopted.

However, the method finds less support than a standard stepwise approach for the role of mother's education. We consider the model-fitting criterion of predictive power when applied to out-of-sample observations, and show that Bayesian model averaging outperforms the stepwise approach.

We conclude that, even with large sample sizes, the interpretation of results can vary substantially according to model selection and fitting criteria.
pp. 37-47

Author Barbara S Okun
The effects of ethnicity and educational attainment on Jewish marriage patterns: Changes in Israel, 1957-1995

This paper presents a study of changes in marriage patterns among the Jewish population of Israel over nearly 40 years. Using data from four Israeli censuses spanning experience from the late 1950s to the mid 1990s, we employ Schoen's harmonic mean model in a multivariate framework to consider, simultaneously, changes over time in age-specific marriage rates by ethnicity and educational attainment.

Our analyses point to a number of clear and interesting findings:
(1) an increasingly positive association between marriage and educational attainment, especially for women; (2) the continuing central role of ethnicity in mate selection, despite important declines in ethnic endogamy over the period; (3) a decrease in the prominence of unions of 'exchange'; (4) some evidence of increasing 'block' endogamy among Jews of Asian and African origin; and (5) a small increase in educational homogamy over the period. Interpretations and implications of these findings are discussed.
pp. 49-64

Author Chris Galley and Nicola Shelton
Bridging the gap: determining long-term changes in infant mortality in pre-registration England and Wales

Much effort has been expended in analysing a small sample of parish registers to produce national estimates of infant mortality for the period 1580-1840. However, in an age when inter-parish variations in infant mortality were considerable, national trends often obscured local and regional differences.

By analysing data from the initial years of Civil Registration (1839-1846) together with infant mortality rates from a range of parishes, it is possible to assess the extent of variation and change in England and Wales during the period 1580-1840. The geographical variations in infant mortality and the age structure of infant deaths were sufficient to suggest that the most important influence on whether infants survived was disease environments.
pp. 65-77

Author Yinon Cohen and Yitchak Haberfeld
Self-selection and return migration: Israeli-born Jews returning home from the United States during the 1980s

This paper analyses self-selection of returning immigrants. We propose an empirical model for this purpose, and apply it to Israeli-born immigrants who arrived in the United States during 1970-79 and returned to Israel during 1980-89.

The results, based on analyses of the five per cent Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) of the 1980 and 1990 United States censuses, suggest that those who returned from the United States to Israel would have been less successful in the United States labour market than Israelis of similar schooling (and other measured characteristics) who remained in the United States.

These results were corroborated using Israeli census data that include information on returning Israelis. 
pp. 79-91