Faculty Scholarship: Naomi Cahn's Marriage Markets

In early May, Naomi Cahn, Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, published new research in the book Marriage Markets: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family. Written in collaboration with June Carbone, a faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School, the work examines the intersection of family demographics and family law.

From the Publisher

"In Marriage Markets, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn examine how macroeconomic forces are transforming our most intimate and important spheres, and how working class and lower income families have paid the highest price. Just like health, education, and seemingly every other advantage in life, a stable two-parent home has become a luxury that only the well-off can afford. The best educated and most prosperous have the most stable families, while working class families have seen the greatest increase in relationship instability.

Why is this so? The book provides the answer: greater economic inequality has profoundly changed marriage markets, the way men and women match up when they search for a life partner. It has produced a larger group of high-income men than women; written off the men at the bottom because of chronic unemployment, incarceration, and substance abuse; and left a larger group of women with a smaller group of comparable men in the middle. The failure to see marriage as a market affected by supply and demand has obscured any meaningful analysis of the way that societal changes influence culture. Only policies that redress the balance between men and women through greater access to education, stable employment, and opportunities for social mobility can produce a culture that encourages commitment and investment in family life."


Professor Cahn has also appeared in several media outlets to discuss a variety of family law issues. Read more here:

The Chronicle of Higher Education | May 12, 2014
"Inequality and Marriage"

The New York Times | May 02, 2014
"Does 'Sperm Donor' Mean 'Dad'?"

Slate | April 22, 2014
"For White Working-Class Women, It Makes Sense to Stay Single Mothers"

USA Today | April 17, 2014
"New Hampshire Senate Votes to Repeal Anti-Adultery Law"

The Wall Street Journal | April 13, 2014
"Who Is Responsible for the Student Loans After Divorce?"


For more information, reviews, or to order Marriage Markets, please visit the book's Amazon page.