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Gender Differences and the Timing of first Marriages

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Abstract

In first marriages in the United States grooms are on average 1.7 years older than their brides, the life-cycle profile of this age gap is increasing both for the grooms and for the brides, and it is steeper for the grooms. To address these issues we construct a general equilibrium model economy in which people search for spouses, and they marry because they value bearing children, sharing their income with their spouses, and companionship. A distinguishing feature of our model economy is that the age distributions of singles are endogenous. We calibrate our model economy so that it replicates some of the aggregate features of the timing of first marriages in the United States. And we find that gender differences in fecundity are essential to account for the average age gap observed in first marriages. We also find that distributions of single people that are decreasing in age and some random matching are sufficient to account for the positive slopes of the life-cycle profiles of the age gaps at first marriage; and that gender differences in fecundity account for these profiles being steeper for the grooms.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines in its series ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers with number inv274.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv274

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Keywords: marriage; search; age gap;

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References

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  1. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnali, M., 1991. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 91-3, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "More on Marriage, Fertility and the Distribution of Income," RCER Working Papers 489, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
  4. Shannon N. Seitz, 2002. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Working Papers 1009, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.
  6. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  7. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  8. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 43, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 5224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," IZA Discussion Papers 1082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 2007. "Class, Gender and Marriage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 549-575, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.

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