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How Do Marital Status, Wage Rates, and Work Commitment Interact?

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Author Info

  • Ahituv, Avner

    ()
    (University of Haifa)

  • Lerman, Robert I.

    ()
    (Urban Institute)

Abstract

How marriage interacts with men's earnings is an important public policy issue, given debates over programs to directly encourage healthy marriages. This paper generates new findings about the earnings-marriage relationship by estimating the linkages between marriage, work commitment, and wage rates. Unlike other studies of the marital wage premium for men, we examine how marital status and marital transitions affect hours worked as well as wage rates, take account of the feedback effect on wage rates and earnings associated with marriage effects on hours worked, estimate marriage effects on black and low skill men, control for several dimensions of selection, and follow men from age 17-40. We find that marriage increases men's earnings by about 20 percent and also find a rise in wage rates and hours worked increases marriage. These findings suggest that both marriage-enhancing and earnings-enhancing policies can set off a virtuous circle, in which marriage and earnings reinforce each other over time. Unmarried men who appear unable to support a family because of low current earnings are likely to become more adequate breadwinners once they marry. Thus, if proposed programs are able to increase the utility from and appreciation of marriage, they are likely to generate earnings gains for men as an important side effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1688.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Demography, 2007, 44 (3), 623-647
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1688

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Keywords: marriage; wage determinants; labor supply; marital dissolution;

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References

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  1. 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.
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  13. V. Joseph Hotz & Lixin Colin Xu & Marta Tienda & Avner Ahituv, 2002. "Are There Returns To The Wages Of Young Men From Working While In School?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 221-236, May.
  14. David S. Loughran, 2002. "The Effect Of Male Wage Inequality On Female Age At First Marriage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 237-250, May.
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  16. Kenny, Lawrence W, 1983. "The Accumulation of Human Capital during Marriage by Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 223-31, April.
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  18. Schoeni, Robert F, 1995. "Marital Status and Earnings in Developed Countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 351-59, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Papps, Kerry L., 2006. "The Effects of Divorce Risk on the Labour Supply of Married Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2395, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Avner Ahituv & Robert Lerman, 2011. "Job turnover, wage rates, and marital stability: How are they related?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 221-249, June.

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