IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/juecon/v53y2003i2p257-281.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Waiting for Mr. Right: rising inequality and declining marriage rates

Author

Listed:
  • Gould, Eric D.
  • Paserman, M. Daniele

Abstract

This Paper demonstrates that women search longer for their first or second husband in cities with higher male wage inequality, and analyses several explanations for this result. A causal link is established by showing that the results are robust to the inclusion of city fixed-effects and city-specific time trends, and by using inequality in the woman’s state of birth as a proxy for the local level of male inequality. Increasing male inequality explains about 30% of the marriage rate decline for women over the last few decades, and we show that this is not due to the effects of male inequality on female inequality, female labour supply, or decisions by women to re-locate, nor to the decisions of men in reaction to changes in their own wages. The evidence supports the idea that higher male inequality increases the option value for single women to search longer for a husband.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Gould, Eric D. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Waiting for Mr. Right: rising inequality and declining marriage rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 257-281, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:53:y:2003:i:2:p:257-281
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0094-1190(02)00518-1
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Bagnoli, Mark, 1993. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 185-202, February.
    2. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344.
    3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, August.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    5. Bergstrom, Ted & Schoeni, Robert F, 1996. "Income Prospects and Age-at-Marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(2), pages 115-130, May.
    6. Akerlof, George A, 1998. "Men without Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 287-309, March.
    7. David S. Loughran, 2002. "The Effect Of Male Wage Inequality On Female Age At First Marriage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 237-250, May.
    8. Frankel, David M. & Gould, Eric D., 2001. "The Retail Price of Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 219-239, March.
    9. Raquel Fernández & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1305-1341.
    10. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
    11. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 293-329, January.
    12. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-1187, December.
    13. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. "Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
    14. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn & Jane Waldfogel, 2000. "Understanding Young Women's Marriage Decisions: The Role of Labor and Marriage Market Conditions," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(4), pages 624-647, July.
    15. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey: Part I," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(2), pages 155-189, June.
    16. Eric D. Gould, 2002. "Rising Wage Inequality, Comparative Advantage, and the Growing Importance of General Skills in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 105-147, January.
    17. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
    18. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    19. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    20. Chinhui Juhn, 1992. "Decline of Male Labor Market Participation: The Role of Declining Market Opportunities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 79-121.
    21. Josh Angrist, 2000. "Consequences of Imbalanced Sex Ratios: Evidence from America's Second Generation," NBER Working Papers 8042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1287-1315.
    23. Michael Kremer, 1997. "How Much does Sorting Increase Inequality?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 115-139.
    24. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
    25. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    26. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-368, September.
    27. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 299-351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Fortin & Guy Lacroix, 2002. "Marriage Market, Divorce Legislation, and Household Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 37-72, February.
    29. Burdett, Kenneth & Ondrich, Jan I, 1985. "How Changes in Labor Demand Affect Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-10, January.
    30. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    31. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 2000. "The Craft of Labormetrics," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(3), pages 363-380, April.
    32. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David S Loughran & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2004. "Are There Gains to Delaying Marriage? The Effect of Age at First Marriage on Career Development and Wages," Working Papers 207, RAND Corporation.
    2. Aloysius Siow & Eugene Choo, 2007. "Lifecycle marriage matching: Theory and Evidence," 2007 Meeting Papers 550, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Shelly Lundberg & Aloysius Siow, 2017. "Canadian contributions to family economics," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 50(5), pages 1304-1323, December.
    4. Andriana Bellou, 2015. "The impact of Internet diffusion on marriage rates: evidence from the broadband market," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 265-297, April.
    5. Joseph Altonji & Disa Hynsjo & Ivan Vidangos, . "Individual Earnings and Family Income: Dynamics and Distribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Edoardo Ciscato & Simon Weber, 2020. "The role of evolving marital preferences in growing income inequality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 307-347, January.
    7. David S. Loughran, 2000. "Does Variance Matter? The Effect of Rising Male Inequality on Female Age at First Marriage," Working Papers 00-12, RAND Corporation.
    8. Rania Gihleb & Osnat Lifshitz, 2022. "Dynamic Effects of Educational Assortative Mating on Labor Supply," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 46, pages 302-327, October.
    9. 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 124-157, July.
    10. John Douglas Skåtun, 2017. "Bargaining on your Spouse: Coasean and Non-Coasean Behaviour Within Marriage," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 263-278, June.
    11. Joelle Abramowitz, 2014. "Turning back the ticking clock: the effect of increased affordability of assisted reproductive technology on women’s marriage timing," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(2), pages 603-633, April.
    12. Levin, Mark (Левин, Марк) & Matrosova, Ksenia (Матросова, Ксения), 2018. "Development and Research of Economic Behavior of Households in Changing Conditions [Разработка И Исследование Экономического Поведения Домохозяйств В Изменяющихся Условиях]," Working Papers 041825, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    13. Vaillant, Nicolas G. & Harrant, Valérie, 2008. "Determinants of the likelihood of finding the right partner in an arranged marriage: Evidence from a French matchmaking agency," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 657-671, April.
    14. Suqin Ge & Fang Yang, 2013. "Accounting For The Gender Gap In College Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 478-499, January.
    15. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen & Selma Walther, 2021. "Where did it go wrong? Marriage and divorce in Malawi," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(2), pages 505-545, May.
    16. Blanden, Joanne, 2005. "Love and Money: Intergenerational Mobility and Marital Matching on Parental Income," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005272e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    17. Huang, Fali & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2017. "Love, money, and parental goods: Does parental matchmaking matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 224-245.
    18. Huang, Fali & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2015. "Love, money, and old age support : does parental matchmaking matter ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7188, The World Bank.
    19. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Melvin Stephens, 2004. "Job Displacement, Disability, and Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 489-522, April.
    20. Fernandez, Raquel, 2002. "Education, segregation and marital sorting: theory and an application to the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 993-1022, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:53:y:2003:i:2:p:257-281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905 .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.