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We investigate effects of the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank on rate of marriage and fertility in Palestine using three alternate theories: (1) higher fertility is a political response to existential threat associated with expansion of settler communities (minority status hypothesis), (2) larger numbers of checkpoints in a place isolate it from neighboring places, and narrows accessible marriage market possibly increasing age at marriage (marriage market hypothesis) and (3) for families under stress, responses to both checkpoints and larger settlement populations will be to ‘double down’ on family - an earlier age at marriage and higher fertility within marriage despite fracturing of the marriage market (family security hypothesis). We use data from Palestinian Censuses of 1997 and 2007 and divide the 11 West Bank governorates into 31 distinct geographic areas, distinguishing urban, rural, and refugee camps. We test the hypotheses for women age 10 to 49 years in 2007, controlling for place of residence characteristics in 1997, community marriage and fertility rates in 1997, and change in community level of development from 1997 to 2007. Military checkpoints and settler population penetration in each governorate measure the intensity of the Israeli Occupation. We find evidence consistent with family security hypothesis.
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