Educational Stratification of Marriage Entry under Different Political and Economic Regimes: Evidence from the Czech Republic during the Second Half of the 20th Century


This paper examines changes in the effect of education on respondents' odds of entering marriage in the Czech Republic in the second half of the 20th century. The paper evaluates two competing theoretical perspectives aiming at explaining post-socialist population change: the economic crisis argument and the second demographic transition theory. Using discrete-time event-history models to predict entry into first marriage, the analysis reveals that educational stratification of marital behavior increased in the post-socialist period among women, and most probably also among men: the least educated individuals postponed and avoided marriage to a greater degree than better qualified respondents, which supports the notion that post-socialist population change responded to structural economic forces. Yet, a detailed comparison of the timing of change in marital behavior across education groups suggests that ideational change (and perceived opportunity cost of early marriage) also played a role in the post-socialist demographic change.