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Are All The Good Men Married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium

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  • Antonovics, Kate
  • Town, Robert
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    Abstract

    A longstanding and yet unsettled question in labor economics is: does marriage cause men's wages to rise? Cross-sectional wage studies consistently find that married men earn significantly higher wages than do men who are not currently married. However, it is well-known that inferring causal relationships from crosssectional analysis is inappropriate because of the biases introduced by unobserved heterogeneity. As a means of circumventing this problem, this paper uses data on identical twins to control for unobserved heterogeneity. Our estimates suggest that marriage increases men's wages by as much as 27%, and that little, if any, of the cross-sectional relationship between marriage and wages is due to selection. In addition, we find little evidence that the marital-wage premium is a consequence of household specialization.

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    File URL: http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/06s8022j.pdf;origin=repeccitec
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, UC San Diego in its series University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series with number qt06s8022j.

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    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsdec:qt06s8022j

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    Keywords: Marriage; Wage Premium;

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    1. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
    2. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-94, April.
    3. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
    4. Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Examining the Wage Differential for Married and Cohabiting Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 199-212, April.
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