The “marriageable male” has a steady income. He pays his bills on time and could help support a child, too. He has long captured the interest of economists, who associate him with a healthier economy.

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But in some parts of the country, the marriageable male is no longer living up to his name, according to a new paper from researchers at the University of Maryland. Economics professor Melissa Kearney, the study’s co-author, wanted to explore how fracking booms have affected the ...