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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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  2. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Booth, Alison L & Coles, Melvyn G, 2005. "Education, Matching and the Allocative Value of Romance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5099, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  9. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mansour, Hani & McKinnish, Terra, 2012. "Who Marries Differently-Aged Spouses? Earnings, Ability and Appearance," IZA Discussion Papers 6678, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "Matching with a Handicap: The Case of Smoking in the Marriage Market," CHILD Working Papers Series 8, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
  3. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
  4. 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, vol. 51(3), pages 254-276, November.
  5. Stephen Kinsella & David M. Ramsey, 2011. "A Model of Partnership Formation with Friction and Multiple Criteria," Working Papers 201119, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.

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