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On the age at marriage: theory and evidence from Jews and Moslems in Israel

  • Danziger, Leif
  • Neuman, Shoshana

In this paper we extend the Becker-Keeley and Bergstrom-Bagnoli theories of the optimal age at marriage and derive systematic cross-cultural differences in the marriage pattern. We then examine the empirical relevance of the hypotheses for Jewish and Moslem population groups in Israel. The empirical analysis is more detailed than previous studies by, for example, splitting the sample according to the wife's labor market status. The evidence supports the Becker-Keeley prediction about the effects of the spouses' wage rates, the Bergstrom-Bagnoli prediction about the effect of the husband's wage rate in a traditional society, and the various hypotheses we propose. Dans ce papier, nous étendons les théories de Becker-Keeley et Bergstrom-Bagnoli sur l`âge optimal du mariage et dérivons des différences systématiques entre les cultures dans les patterns de mariages. Ensuite, nous examinons la relevance empririquedes hypothèses pour les groupes de population juives et musulmanes en Israel. L'analyse empirique est plus détaillée que dans des études précédantes, par exemple en séparant l'échantillon selon le status de l'épouse sur le marché du travail. Les résultats corroborent les prédictions de Becker-Keeley sur l'effet du salaire de l'époux ou de l'épouse, la prédiction de Bergstrom-Bagnoli sur l'effet du salaire de l'époux dans une économie traditionnelle, ainsi que les différentes hypothèses que nous suggérons.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 40 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 179-193

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:40:y:1999:i:2:p:179-193
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  1. Grossbard-Shechtman, Shoshana & Neuman, Shoshana, 1998. "The Extra Burden of Moslem Wives: Clues from Israeli Women's Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 1807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Keeley, Michael C, 1979. "An Analysis of the Age Pattern of First Marriage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(2), pages 527-44, June.
  3. Zhang, Junsen, 1995. "Do men with higher wages marry earlier or later?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 193-196, August.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  5. Ted Bergstrom & Robert Schoeni, 1996. "Income prospects and age-at-marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 115-130, June.
  6. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1991. "Courtship as a waiting game," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 386, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Kenny, Lawrence W, 1983. "The Accumulation of Human Capital during Marriage by Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 223-31, April.
  8. Matsushita, Keiichiro, 1989. "Economic Analysis of Age at First Marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 103-119.
  9. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
  10. Wong, Yue-chim, 1986. "Entrepreneurship, Marriage, and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 693-99, November.
  11. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  12. Benham, Lee, 1974. "Benefits of Women's Education within Marriage," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S57-S71, Part II, .
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