Social Norms, Cognitive Dissonance and the Timing of Marriage
AbstractWe present a model of courtship in which the timing of marriage is affected by the cognitive dissonance between perceived norms and personal aims. We argue that as long as the family has been the main provider of social protection, marriage has been favoured by strongly felt social norms, and thus people accepted less-than-ideal partners early on in their search in order to minimize the dissonance caused by the non-adherence to the custom. Once the Welfare state has replaced the family, these norms have lost their strength, so that agents can afford the luxury of searching their preferred partners at length without feeling at odds with their social duties. The model yields predictions in line with relevant stylised facts: the raising age of marriage, the prevalence of assortative mating and the common occurrence of divorce in the early years of marriage. We finally discuss the impact of late marriages on fertility, and argue that there need not be negative consequences if the declining role of the family becomes socially accepted, and alternative arrangements are made possible and indeed encouraged by means of an appropriate family policy.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2068.
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
marriage; cognitive dissonance; fertility;
Other versions of this item:
- Balestrino, Alessandro & Ciardi, Cinzia, 2008. "Social norms, cognitive dissonance and the timing of marriage," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2399-2410, December.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
- Dickens, William T., 1986. "Crime and punishment again: The economic approach with a psychological twist," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 97-107, June.
- Robert Oxoby, 2001.
"Cognitive Dissonance, Status, and Growth of the Underclass,"
2001-02, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 05 Dec 2001.
- Robert J. Oxoby, 2004. "Cognitive dissonance, status and growth of the underclass," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(498), pages 727-749, October.
- Assar Lindbeck & Sten Nyberg & Jšrgen W. Weibull, 1999.
"Social Norms And Economic Incentives In The Welfare State,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 1-35, February.
- Lindbeck, Assar & Nyberg, Sten & Weibull, Jörgen W., 1997. "Social Norms and Economic Incentives in the Welfare State," Working Paper Series 476, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
- Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
- Rabin, Matthew, 1997.
"Psychology and Economics,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt8jd5z5j2, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Goldsmith, Arthur H. & Sedo, Stanley & Darity, William Jr. & Hamilton, Darrick, 2004. "The labor supply consequences of perceptions of employer discrimination during search and on-the-job: Integrating neoclassical theory and cognitive dissonance," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 15-39, February.
- Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990.
"Courtship as a Waiting Game,"
90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Bergstrom, T. & Bagnali, M., 1991. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 91-3, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, . "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers _030, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1991. "Courtship as a waiting game," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 386, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- John Ermisch & Marco Francesconi & Thomas Siedler, 2006. "Intergenerational Mobility and Marital Sorting," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 659-679, 07.
- George A. Akerlof, 1978.
"A theory of social custom, of which unemployment may be one consequence,"
Special Studies Papers
118, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Akerlof, George A, 1980. "A Theory of Social Custom, of Which Unemployment May be One Consequence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(4), pages 749-75, June.
- Rabin, Mathew, 1991.
"Cognitive Dissonance and Social Change,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt37b169jt, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Josef Falkinger, 2004. "Noncooperative Support of Public Norm Enforcement in Large Societies," CESifo Working Paper Series 1368, CESifo Group Munich.
- Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-19, June.
- Dan Anderberg & Alessandro Balestrino, 2003.
"Self--enforcing Intergenerational Transfers and the Provision of Education,"
London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 55-71, February.
- Anderberg, Dan & Balestrino, Alessandro, 2001. "Self-Enforcing Intergenerational Transfers and the Provision of Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 3107, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dufwenberg, M. & Lundholm, M., 1997.
"Social Norms and Moral Hazard,"
1997-28, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
- Cameron, Samuel, 2003. "The economic model of divorce: the neglected role of search and specific capital formation," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 303-316, July.
- John Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2000.
"Cohabitation in Great Britain: not for long, but here to stay,"
Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A,
Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(2), pages 153-171.
- Francesconi, Marco & Ermisch, John, 1998. "Cohabitation in Great Britain: not for long, but here to stay," ISER Working Paper Series 98-01, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
- Danziger, Leif & Neuman, Shoshana, 1999.
"On the age at marriage: theory and evidence from Jews and Moslems in Israel,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-193, October.
- Leif Danziger & Shoshanna Neuman, 1998. "On the Age at Marriage: Theory and Evidence from Jews and Moslems in Israel," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 82, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
- Danziger, Leif & Neuman, Shoshana, 1999. "On the Age at Marriage: Theory and Evidence from Jews and Moslems in Israel," CEPR Discussion Papers 2209, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Ted O'Donoghue & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Studying Optimal Paternalism, Illustrated by a Model of Sin Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 186-191, May.
- Marco Manacorda & Enrico Moretti, 2006. "Why do Most Italian Youths Live with Their Parents? Intergenerational Transfers and Household Structure," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 800-829, 06.
- Smith, Ian, 1997. "Explaining the Growth of Divorce in Great Britain," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 44(5), pages 519-44, November.
- Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
- Gilad, Benjamin & Kaish, Stanley & Loeb, Peter D., 1987. "Cognitive dissonance and utility maximization : A general framework," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 61-73, March.
- Alessandro Balestrino & Cinzia Ciardi & Claudio Mammini, 2008. "On the Causes and Consequences of Divorce," CESifo Working Paper Series 2347, CESifo Group Munich.
- Riener, Gerhard & Traxler, Christian, 2012. "Norms, moods, and free lunch: Longitudinal evidence on payments from a Pay-What-You-Want restaurant," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 476-483.
- Smith, John, 2009. "Cognitive dissonance and the overtaking anomaly: Psychology in the principal-agent relationship," The Journal of Socio-Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 684-690, August.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.