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Beauty vs. earnings: Gender differences in earnings and priorities over spousal characteristics in a matching model

  • Bjerk, David

I develop a model of marriage matching where males and females care about two distinct characteristics of their spouse--beauty and earnings. Each individual's beauty is exogenous, but earnings depend on human capital investments made by each individual prior to entering the marriage market. I show that even if males and females constitute ex ante identical populations, with identical underlying preferences and equal access to human capital investment and labor market opportunities, there can still exist an equilibrium where, on average, one gender invests more in human capital than the other, and moreover, members of one gender are more likely to prioritize beauty over earnings in a spouse, while members of the other gender are more likely to prioritize a potential spouse's earnings over beauty.

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

Volume (Year): 69 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (March)
Pages: 248-259

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:69:y:2009:i:3:p:248-259
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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