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1st April 2010 1pm, University of Southampton, 58/1009
Vegard Skirbekk, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
We present evidence of a general deterioration in the relative economic conditions of young working-age males from the 1980s to the 2000s in developed countries, and suggest this to be an important reason for the postponement of family formation in these countries. In the US, the real median income of 25-34 year old men fell by about 12 percent in this period. The income trends have been more favourable for the 45-54 year olds than for the 25-34 year old men in all countries for which we have data. The situation of the young men worsened as compared to the 55-64 year olds in two-thirds of the countries over this period, and while in Denmark the 55-64 year old men earned 8 percent less than the 25-34 year olds in the 1980s, they earned 7 percent more in the 2000s. In none of the countries we investigate has the growth of the median income of young working age males kept pace with the growth of GDP per worker. The worsening relative income levels for young working age men are important as even in rich, egalitarian countries, a man's income stands central in a couple's decision to enter parenthood, and relatively poor economic performance among young men can lead to delayed and depressed fertility.