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On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers

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Author Info

  • Coles, Melvyn

    ()
    (University of Essex)

  • Francesconi, Marco

    ()
    (University of Essex)

Abstract

Toyboy marriages (where the female partner is at least 5 years older than her male partner) have grown threefold since the 1970s in the United States and Britain. This paper examines this phenomenon using an equilibrium search framework in which becoming successful in the labour market takes time and fitness decays with age. Our framework hinges on contract incompleteness in the marriage market and the assumption that the marginal gain to marrying someone rich is greatest for someone poor. With this structure we can explain why successful (older) types might marry fitter (younger) and less successful types. We show that toyboy marriages arise in equilibrium only when men and women have comparable labour market opportunities. U.S. and British data confirm this indicating that the probability that a woman is married to a toyboy increases by about 45 percent if, relative to her partner’s, she is more educated and in a better paid job.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2612.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: International Economic Review, 2011, 52 (3), 825-853
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2612

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Keywords: non-transferable utility; two-sided search; marriage; ex-ante heterogeneity; ageing;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Alison L. Booth & Hiau Joo Kee, 2011. "A Long‐Run View Of The University Gender Gap In Australia," Australian Economic History Review, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, Economic History Society of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 51(3), pages 254-276, November.
  2. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Matching with a Handicap: The Case of Smoking in the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) 5392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
  4. Stephen Kinsella & David M. Ramsey, 2011. "A Model of Partnership Formation with Friction and Multiple Criteria," Working Papers, Geary Institute, University College Dublin 201119, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  5. Hani Mansour & Terra McKinnish, 2011. "Who Marries Differently-Aged Spouses?: Earnings, Ability and Appearance," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research 1123, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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