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Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark

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Author Info

  • Datta Gupta, Nabanita

    ()
    (Aarhus University)

  • Smith, Nina

    ()
    (Aarhus University)

  • Stratton, Leslie S.

    ()
    (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Abstract

The word for 'married' in Danish is the same as the word for 'poison'. The word for 'sweetheart' in Danish is the same as the word for 'tax'. In this paper we expand upon the literature documenting a significant marital wage premium for men in the United States to see if a similar differential exists for married men in Denmark - or if the homonyms have perhaps less of a double meaning. Unlike most other research in this area, our study is based on a large panel sample with complete relationship histories, consisting of about 35,000 young Danish men observed before and after their first marriage or cohabitation during the years 1984-2001. Since the majority of young Danes cohabit before they marry, if they ever marry, cohabitation is allowed for as a separate state. Pooled OLS estimates indicate a marital wage premium of 4-5%, which drops to 2% after controlling for selectivity. The cohabitation premium is found to be of the same size as the marital wage premium. Our results indicate that a part of the marriage or cohabitation premium is not due to marriage or cohabitation itself, but to fatherhood. When information on becoming a father and years spent in fatherhood is added to the empirical model, the results show that fathers receive a 'fatherhood' premium during their first few years as fathers and that the initial marital wage premium is reduced.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1591.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Southern Economic Journal, 2007, 74 (2), 412-433
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1591

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Keywords: fatherhood; cohabitation; marriage premium;

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References

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  1. Schoeni, Robert F, 1995. "Marital Status and Earnings in Developed Countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 351-59, November.
  2. Donna K. Ginther & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Is the male marriage premium due to selection? The effect of shotgun weddings on the return to marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 313-328.
  3. Schettkat, Ronald, 2002. "Differences in US-German time-allocation: why do Americans work longer hours than Germans?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment FS I 02-212, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  4. Jacobsen, Joyce P & Rayack, Wendy L, 1996. "Do Men Whose Wives Work Really Earn Less?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 268-73, May.
  5. Callan, T. & Dex, S. & Smith, N. & Vlasblom, J.D., 1999. "Taxation of Spouses: a Cross-Country Study of the Effects on Maaried Women's Labour Supply," Papers 99-02, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  6. Gunnar Isacsson, 2004. "Estimating the economic return to educational levels using data on twins," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(1), pages 99-119.
  7. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household specialization and the male marriage wage premium," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  10. Gupta, N.D. & Smith, N., 2000. "Children and Career Interruptions: the Family Gap in Denmark," Papers 00-03, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  11. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
  12. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Female Labour Force Participation: Past Trends and Main Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 376, OECD Publishing.
  16. Naur, M. & Smith, N., 1996. "Cohort Effects on the Gender Wage Gape in Danmark," Papers 96-05, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  17. Daniel, K., 1991. "Does Marriage Make Men More Productive?," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 92-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  18. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Rodgers III, William M. & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "The Male Marital Wage Differential: Race, Training, and Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Smith, Nina & Smith, Valdemar & Verner, Mette, 2010. "The Gender Pay Gap in Top Corporate Jobs in Denmark: Glass Ceilings, Sticky Floors or Both?," IZA Discussion Papers 4848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Cornaglia, Francesca & Feldman, Naomi E., 2011. "Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball," IZA Discussion Papers 5695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Nan Astone & Jacinda Dariotis & Freya Sonenstein & Joseph Pleck & Kathryn Hynes, 2010. "Men’s Work Efforts and the Transition to Fatherhood," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 3-13, March.
  5. Averett, Susan L. & Sikora, Asia & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "For better or worse: Relationship status and body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 330-349, December.
  6. Arif Mamun, 2012. "Cohabitation Premium in Men’s Earnings: Testing the Joint Human Capital Hypothesis," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 53-68, March.
  7. Neher, Frank, 2011. "Markets wanted: Expectation overshooting in transition," Discussion Papers 2011/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  8. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew & Hogsnes, Geir, 2006. "The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2053f73v, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  9. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew & Høgnes, Geir, 2012. "From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt60p7c2pg, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  10. Frank Neher, 2013. "Markets wanted: expectation overshooting in transition economies," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 187-219, June.
  11. Trude Lappegård & Marit Rønsen, 2013. "Socioeconomic Differences in Multipartner Fertility Among Norwegian Men," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 1135-1153, June.

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  1. Marriage gap in Wikipedia (English)
  2. فجوة الزواج in Wikipedia (Arabic)

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