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Are there Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?

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  • Maristella Botticini
  • Aloysius Siow

Abstract

The returns to scale of marriage markets have important behavioral and welfare consequences. It is quantitatively difficult to estimate the returns to scale because, due to endogenous migration, the marriage market size is endogenous. This paper addresses the endogeneity in two ways. First, it estimates the degree of returns to scale in U.S. marriage markets using the 2000 census. Given that in the United States people move to cities to find marriage partners and, therefore, the size of the marriage market is endogenous, we instrument the current size of a cohort in the marriage market with the size of that cohort twenty years earlier. Second, it estimates city scale effects in two societies---early Renaissance Tuscany and pre-reform China---where there was little internal mobility, and thus, the size of the marriage market can be considered exogenous. The main finding is that in all three societies, there is no evidence of increasing returns to scale in marriage markets, whereas the hypothesis of constant returns to scale cannot be rejected. This is true when looking at marriage odds ratios, total gains to marriage, and the quality of marital match. Given the different characteristics of the three societies in terms of population size, time period, economic structure, and social norms characterizing the marriage market, the similarity and precision of the estimates for returns to scale parameters is remarkable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-333.

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Length: 1 pages
Date of creation: 08 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-333

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Keywords: Increasing returns; marriage market; United States; China; Renaissance Tuscany;

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References

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  1. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 1999. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940-1990," NBER Working Papers 7109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, 03.
  3. Janice Compton & Robert A. Pollak, 2004. "Why Are Power Couples Increasingly Concentrated in Large Metropolitan Areas," NBER Working Papers 10918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pieter A. Gautier & Michael Svarer & Coen N. Teulings, 2005. "Marriage and the City," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-015/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
  6. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005015 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Gould, Eric D & Paserman, Marco Daniele, 2002. "Waiting for Mr Right: Rising Inequality and Declining Marriage Rates," CEPR Discussion Papers 3388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Aloysius Siow, 2009. "Testing Becker's Theory of Positive Assortative Matching," Working Papers tecipa-356, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Baccara, Mariagiovanna & Collard-Wexler, Allan & Felli, Leonardo & Yariv, Leeat, 2010. "Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption," CEPR Discussion Papers 7647, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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