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Will you marry me?: A perspective on the gender gap

  • Elul, Ronel
  • Silva-Reus, Jose
  • Volij, Oscar

This paper develops a general equilibrium model of the gender wage gap. The difference in earnings is a consequence of a demographic regularity--that men tend to marry younger women--which may limit women's labor mobility and, hence, their average earnings. However, couples are always free not to marry, and do so only if it is in each's self-interest. The intrafamily allocation of resources is determined via non-cooperative bargaining; this leads to interesting interactions between the game played by husband and wife on the one hand, and the competitive environment in which they are immersed on the other. The predictions resulting from this model's interplay between locational choice and family bargaining are consistent with the observation that the increasing stress put by women on their careers over the past 30 years has been contemporaneous with reductions in both marriage rates and the gender gap. The model provides insight into the consequences of this for the relative welfare of men and women, as well as exploring its wider economic implications.

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

Volume (Year): 49 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 549-572

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:49:y:2002:i:4:p:549-572
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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  1. Patrick Francois, 1996. "A Theory of Gender Discrimination Based on the Household," Working Papers 929, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Bergstrom, T.C., 1993. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers 93-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  3. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
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  6. Cristina Echevarria & Antonio Merlo, 1995. "Gender differences in education in a dynamic household bargaining model," Staff Report 195, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Goldin, Claudia, 1986. "Monitoring Costs and Occupational Segregation by Sex: A Historical Analysis," Scholarly Articles 2666727, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  11. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
  12. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
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  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
  16. Galor, Oded & Ryder, Harl E., 1989. "Existence, uniqueness, and stability of equilibrium in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 360-375, December.
  17. 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..
  18. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "A model of employment outcomes illustrating the effect of the structure of information on the level and distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 10(3-4), pages 231-236.
  19. Frank, Robert H, 1978. "Why Women Earn Less: The Theory and Estimation of Differential Overqualification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 360-73, June.
  20. Engineer, Merwan & Welling, Linda, 1999. "Human capital, true love, and gender roles: is sex destiny?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 155-178, October.
  21. Hadfield, Gillian K., 1999. "A coordination model of the sexual division of labor," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 125-153, October.
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