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Ellman writes on 'Marital Roles and Declining Birth Rates'


March 10, 2009

Ira Ellman, who is an affiliate professor of psychology as well as a professor at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, has written an article, "Marital Roles and Declining Birth Rates," which has been published in Family Law Quarterly.

In it, Ellman looks at possible connections between the overall decline in marriage rates going back to 1969 and changing marital roles. In particular, he builds on previous literature showing that poor women in urban settings do not disdain marriage but have a difficult time finding men they want to marry.

Ellman looks at women at the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum and explores whether highly skilled women likewise find marriage prospects relatively scarce because they prefer men whose socioeconomic status is as high, or higher, than their own. Because of this "marrying up" propensity across the socioeconomic spectrum, Ellman notes, declining marriage rates may be related to a decrease in men's incomes.

Ellman's current scholarly projects include an empirical investigation into how people make judgments about appropriate legal rules, and a book for Oxford University Press about the difficulties inherent in implementing family policy through family law. He is an affiliate faculty member of the Center for Child and Youth Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Ellman was Chief Reporter for the Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution, and is senior author of a leading text on family law. Before joining the College faculty, he served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, a legislative aide to Sen. Adlai Stevenson III, and a consultant to the California legislature. He has visited at Hastings College of Law, Brooklyn Law School, the Institute for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University, the Earl Warren Institute, and the Center for the Study of Law and Society, at University of California, Berkeley. Ellman has served on many legislative and judicial committees in Arizona concerned with family law and policy, currently, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines Committee. He has also written on health-care law and was a founding member of the Bioethics Committee of Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix.

Judy Nichols, Judith.Nichols@asu.edu
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law