Want to Get Married? Buy a Cable Modem.

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Via Brenda Cronin, here’s a fascinating study suggesting that faster adoption of broadband internet leads to higher marriage rates. The author, Andriana Bellou of the University of Montreal, presents the basic regression chart on the right, and then runs through a variety of tests to find out whether this is really a causal relationship. After all, maybe tech-friendly places have always produced higher marriage rates. Or maybe sociable people like the internet and also like getting married. Or it could be that causality runs in the other direction: maybe people who are more likely to get married are also more likely to move to tech-friendly places. Etc.

Bellou takes a variety of strategies to test causality. For example, it turns out that broadband penetration in 2000-05 doesn’t predict marriage rates in the pre-internet era (1990-95). This suggests that her results aren’t due to something special about the geographic areas that eventually adopted broadband at high rates.

Long story short, her conclusion is that this association is probably causal. Other things equal, better access to the internet really does produce a greater number of marriages. eHarmony really does work.

In a way, this isn’t too surprising, but there’s obviously a lot of noise in the data. I’ll be interested to see if her result holds up once the rest of the world starts banging away on it.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate