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'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments

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  • Leonardo Bursztyn
  • Thomas Fujiwara
  • Amanda Pallais

Abstract

Do single women avoid career-enhancing actions because these actions signal undesirable traits, like ambition, to the marriage market? While married and unmarried female MBA students perform similarly when their performance is unobserved by classmates (on exams and problem sets), unmarried women have lower participation grades. In a field experiment, single female students reported lower desired salaries and willingness to travel and work long hours on a real-stakes placement questionnaire when they expected their classmates to see their preferences. Other groups' responses were unaffected by peer observability. A second experiment indicates the effects are driven by observability by single male peers.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardo Bursztyn & Thomas Fujiwara & Amanda Pallais, 2017. "'Acting Wife': Marriage Market Incentives and Labor Market Investments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(11), pages 3288-3319, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:11:p:3288-3319
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20170029
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    Cited by:

    1. Adams, Abigail & Andrew, Alison, 2019. "Preferences and Beliefs in the Marriage Market for Young Brides," CEPR Discussion Papers 13567, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Barigozzi, Francesca & Cremer, Helmuth & Monfardini, Chiara, 2019. "The gender gap in informal child care: theory and some evidence from Italy," TSE Working Papers 19-1015, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    3. Emily Breza & Supreet Kaur & Nandita Krishnaswamy, 2019. "Propping Up the Wage Floor: Collective Labor Supply without Unions," NBER Working Papers 25880, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Zhang, Peilu & Zhang, Yinjunjie & Palma, Marco, 2018. "Social Norms and Competitiveness: My Willingness to Compete Depends on Who I am (supposed to be)," MPRA Paper 89727, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Andrea Ichino & Martin Olsson & Barbara Petrongolo & Peter Skogman Thoursie, 2019. "Economic Incentives, Home Production and Gender Identity Norms," CEP Discussion Papers dp1626, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    6. Barigozzi, Francesca & Cremer, Helmuth & Roeder, Kerstin, 2018. "Women's career choices, social norms and child care policies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 162-173.
    7. Buser, Thomas & Ranehill, Eva & van Veldhuizen, Roel, 2017. "Gender Differences in Willingness to Compete: The Role of Public Observability," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 40, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    8. Ang Sun & Chuanchuan Zhang & Xiangting Hu, 2019. "Boys, Girls, and Grandparents: The Impact of the Sex of Preschool-Aged Children on Family Living Arrangements and Maternal Labor Supply," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(3), pages 813-833, June.
    9. James Andreoni & Nikos Nikiforakis & Simon Siegenthaler, 2020. "Predicting Social Tipping and Norm Change in Controlled Experiments," NBER Working Papers 27310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Nicolas L. Bottan & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2017. "Choosing Your Pond: Location Choices and Relative Income," NBER Working Papers 23615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Anja Roth & Michaela Slotwinski, 2018. "Gender Norms and Income Misreporting within Households," CESifo Working Paper Series 7298, CESifo.
    12. Abi Adams & Alison Andrew, 2019. "Preferences and beliefs in the marriage market for young brides," IFS Working Papers W19/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    13. Drupp, Moritz A. & Khadjavi, Menusch & Riekhof, Marie-Catherine & Voss, Rudi, 2020. "Professional identity and the gender gap in risk-taking. Evidence from field experiments with scientists," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 418-432.
    14. Gagnon, Nickolas & Bosmans, Kristof & Riedl, Arno, 2020. "The Effect of Unfair Chances and Gender Discrimination on Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 12912, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Arthur Schram & Jordi Brandts & Klarita Gërxhani, 2019. "Social-status ranking: a hidden channel to gender inequality under competition," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 22(2), pages 396-418, June.
    16. Elisabeth Grewenig & Philipp Lergetporer & Katharina Werner, 2020. "Gender Norms and Labor-Supply Expectations: Experimental Evidence from Adolescents," CESifo Working Paper Series 8611, CESifo.
    17. Neyt, Brecht & Vandenbulcke, Sarah & Baert, Stijn, 2019. "Are men intimidated by highly educated women? Undercover on Tinder," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    18. Flèche, Sarah & Lepinteur, Anthony & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2020. "Gender norms, fairness and relative working hours within households," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    19. Almås, Ingvild & Kotsadam, Andreas & Moen, Espen R & Røed, Knut, 2019. "The Economics of Hypergamy," CEPR Discussion Papers 13606, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Brecht Neyt & Stijn Baert & Jana Vynckier, 2019. "Job Prestige and Mobile Dating Success:A Field Experiment," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/981, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    21. Laura Barros & Manuel Santos Silva, 2019. "#EleNão: Economic crisis, the political gender gap, and the election of Bolsonaro," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 242, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    22. Zölitz, Ulf & Feld, Jan, 2020. "The Effect of Peer Gender on Major Choice in Business School," IZA Discussion Papers 13396, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    23. Emily Nix & Martin Eckhoff Andresen, 2019. "What Causes the Child Penalty? Evidence from Same Sex Couples and Policy Reforms," Discussion Papers 902, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    24. Adamus, Magdalena & Mikušková, Eva Ballová, 2020. "Gender-based wage discrimination and the backlash effect in recruitment and dismissal processes Experimental evidence from Slovakia," OSF Preprints 4y6uc, Center for Open Science.
    25. Dahl, Gordon B. & Felfe, Christina & Frijters, Paul & Rainer, Helmut, 2020. "Caught between Cultures: Unintended Consequences of Improving Opportunity for Immigrant Girls," IZA Discussion Papers 13507, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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