Volume 10 - Article 9 | Pages 231-264

On the tempo and quantum of first marriages in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland: Changes in mean age and variance

By Maria Winkler-Dworak, Henriette Engelhardt

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Date received:02 Dec 2003
Date published:18 May 2004
Word count:8173
Keywords:age-period interactions, Austria, first marriages, Germany, marriage, mean age and variance changes, tempo and quantum effects


Period marriage rates have been falling dramatically in most industrial societies since the beginning of the 1970s. As has been shown in the literature, part of this decline is due to the postponement of marriage to later ages. However, the change in variance has been ignored so far.
In the case of Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, this paper explores how much of the change in female first marriage rates can be attributed to tempo effects caused by changes in the mean age and variance, and how much of it is due to quantum effects, i.e., the proportion of women who ever marry from 1970 to 2000. In all three countries we find a significant share of the decline in first marriage rates due to tempo distortions, though on different levels.

Author's Affiliation

Maria Winkler-Dworak - Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austria [Email]
Henriette Engelhardt - Otto-Friedrich-Universit├Ąt Bamberg, Germany [Email]

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