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Making Yourself Attractive: Pre-marital Investments and the Returns to Education in the Marriage Market

  • Jeanne Lafortune

I explore how a gender's scarcity may impact educational investments using exogenous variation in the marriage market of second generation Americans in early twentieth century. I find that worse marriage market conditions spur higher pre-marital investments: the effect for males is significant, while, for females, it is only observed in highly endogamous groups. When faced with an exogenously larger number of males per females, males' marriages appear to be less stable and more likely to involve natives and highly educated spouses, while women are less likely to work and, for those in high endogamous groups, marry more immigrants. (JEL C78, D83, J12, J16, N31)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 151-78

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:151-78
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.2.151
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  7. Jere Behrman & Andrew D. Foster & Mark Rosenzweig & Prem Vahsishtha, 1997. "Women's Schooling, Home Teaching, and Economic Growth," Home Pages _071, University of Pennsylvania.
  8. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, . "Technical Change and Human Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution," Home Pages _065, University of Pennsylvania.
  9. Boulier, Bryan L & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1984. "Schooling, Search, and Spouse Selection: Testing Economic Theories of Marriage and Household Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(4), pages 712-32, August.
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  11. Michael Kvasnicka & Dirk Bethmann, 2007. "World War II, Missing Men, and Out-of-wedlock Childbearing," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2007-053, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  12. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  13. Michael R. Haines, 1996. "Long Term Marriage Patterns in the United States from Colonial Times tothe Present," NBER Historical Working Papers 0080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Jeanne Lafortune & José Tessada, 2012. "Smooth(er) Landing? The Dynamic Role of Networks in the Location and Occupational Choice of Immigrants," Documentos de Trabajo 427, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  16. Kai A. Konrad & Kjell Erik Lommerud, 2000. "The bargaining family revisited," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 471-487, May.
  17. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-57, July.
  18. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana Amyra, 1984. "A Theory of Allocation of Time in Markets for Labour and Marriage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 94(376), pages 863-82, December.
  19. Pierre-André Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2009. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1689-1713, December.
  20. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548, May.
  21. Angrist, Joshua, 2001. "How Do Sex Ratios Affect Marriage and Labor Markets? Evidence from America's Second Generation," IZA Discussion Papers 368, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2002. "Were Compulsory Attendance and Child Labor Laws Effective? An Analysis from 1915 to 1939," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 401-35, October.
  23. Murat Nick & P. Randall Walsh, 2007. "Building the Family Nest: Premarital Investments, Marriage Markets, and Spousal Allocations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 507-535.
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