Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Are There Increasing Returns to Scale in Marriage Markets?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Maristella Botticini
  • Aloysius Siow

Abstract

The goal of an individual searching for a marriage partner is typically to form a long-term relationship. Marital search is a complicated and costly activity, where opportunities typically arrive over time at uncertain intervals, each party has to evaluate each other's characteristics, and expectations play an important role. Given these features of marital search, a seminal paper by Mortensen (1988) has shown that the matching framework can be suited for the analysis of marriage markets and also raised the possibility of a thick market externality in these markets. We contribute to this literature by empirically investigating whether marriage markets are characterized by increasing, constant, or decreasing returns to scale. We focus on three societies—late medieval and early Renaissance Tuscany, China in the 1980s, and the United States in 2000—which are different in terms of population size, economic structure, sex ratios, marriage transfers, and the social norms governing marriage markets. Our main finding is that in all three societies, there is no evidence of increasing returns to scale in marriage markets, whereas the hypothesis of constant returns to scale cannot be rejected. The remarkably similar and precise estimates suggest that the number of eligibles (and potential contacts) in a marriage market is less important than economic factors, such as wealth levels and income dispersion, in affecting the marriage rate across different societies. The key message is that where individuals live, in large cities or small towns, have a minimal effect on their marriage rates.

Download Info

If 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.
File URL: ftp://ftp.igier.unibocconi.it/wp/2011/395.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 395.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:395

Contact details of provider:
Postal: via Rontgen, 1 - 20136 Milano (Italy)
Phone: 0039-02-58363301
Fax: 0039-02-58363302
Web page: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/

Order Information:
Email:
Web: http://www.igier.unibocconi.it/en/papers/index.htm

Related research

Keywords:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
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.:
as in new window
  1. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285, August.
  2. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2000. "Why Dowries?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0200, Econometric Society.
  3. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," NBER Working Papers 12944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gautier, Pieter & Svarer, Michael & Teulings, Coen, 2005. "Marriage and the City," IZA Discussion Papers 1491, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1998. "Assortive Matching and Search," Papers 98-09, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  6. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  7. Josh Angrist, 2002. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage And Labor Markets? Evidence From America'S Second Generation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 997-1038, August.
  8. Botticini, Maristella, 1999. "A Loveless Economy? Intergenerational Altruism and the Marriage Market in a Tuscan Town, 1415–1436," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(01), pages 104-121, March.
  9. Ming-Jen Lin & Ming-Ching Luoh, 2008. "Can Hepatitis B Mothers Account for the Number of Missing Women? Evidence from Three Million Newborns in Taiwan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2259-73, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Gould, Eric D & Paserman, Marco Daniele, 2002. "Waiting for Mr Right: Rising Inequality and Declining Marriage Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 3388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 1999. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940-1990," NBER Working Papers 7109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, 03.
  14. Katz, Lawrence & Goldin, Claudia, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women’s Career and Marriage Decisions," Scholarly Articles 2624453, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  16. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Aloysius Siow, 2009. "Testing Becker's Theory of Positive Assortative Matching," Working Papers tecipa-356, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Baccara, Mariagiovanna & Collard-Wexler, Allan & Felli, Leonardo & Yariv, Leeat, 2010. "Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption," CEPR Discussion Papers 7647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Tom Vogl, 2012. "Marriage Institutions and Sibling Competition: Evidence from South Asia," NBER Working Papers 18319, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:395. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.