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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. Jacob Mincer, 1977. "Family Migration Decisions," NBER Working Papers 0199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Claudia Goldin, 1985. "Monitoring Costs and Occupational Segregation by Sex: An Historical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 1560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Patrick Francois, 1996. "A Theory of Gender Discrimination Based on the Household," Working Papers 929, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  15. 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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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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