Widows in early 50s and dating remarriage
For this study, we primarily use Vital Statistics data from the National Center for Health Statistics. In 1979, there was an increase in the marriage rate of widows 60 or older.This suggests many widows in this age group chose not to marry until the marriage penalty they faced was removed.Our results provide compelling evidence that widows respond to economic incentives—delaying or forgoing marriage when the costs for such behavior are high.In Section II we first describe the relevant Social Security laws and present an analysis of the size of the penalties under current law.These findings suggest that the age-60 remarriage rule affects the timing of marriage and has the most influence on women who are very close to age 60. But she fears that getting married soon, as she and her fiancè planned, could cost her a fortune because of the rules that govern Social Security. 'At least she's smart enough to check it out ahead of time,' says Leslie Walker, a spokeswoman with the Social Security Administration in San Francisco, 'I just dealt with a couple where she was a teacher and he was a government employee (two groups that generally can't claim Social Security on their own records).They both thought they could get their deceased spouses' benefits.We investigate whether this rule affects the marriage behavior of widows.In addition to providing empirical evidence for economic theory, understanding the role that Social Security plays in determining marital status is relevant for at least three reasons.
Because husbands from low-income families tend to die at younger ages, the widows who are subject to these penalties are most likely to be economically vulnerable.Acknowledgments: Dickert-Conlin would like to thank Pilot Projects in Aging Research from the Center for Demography and Economics of Aging, in the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University, for initial funding of this project.Doug Wolf and Dan Black provided much encouragement of our work. We would also like to thank seminar participants at Cornell University, Syracuse University, the annual meetings of the Population Association of America, the University of Virginia, the Council of Economic Advisers, the Society of Government Economists, and the Summer Research Workshop at the Institute for Research on Poverty.Section III reviews the relevant existing literature.Section IV provides evidence from the National Center for Health Statistics/Vital Statistics (), the primary data used in our analysis, that Social Security influences marriage behavior. Much of the discussion in this section focuses on widows who are under the age of 60 and who were married to persons who worked in Social Security covered employment.
In 1995, for example, the poverty rate of widows aged 65 or older was 19.2 percent.