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Household Specialization and the Male Marriage Wage Premium

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  • Joni Hersch
  • Leslie S. Stratton

Abstract

Empirical research has consistently shown that married men have substantially higher wages, on average, than otherwise similar unmarried men. One commonly cited hypothesis to explain this pattern is that marriage allows one spouse to specialize in market production and the other to specialize in home production, enabling the former—usually the husband—to acquire more market-specific human capital and, ultimately, earn higher wages. The authors test this hypothesis using panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households. The data reveal that married men spent virtually the same amount of time on home production as did single men, albeit on different types of housework. Estimates from a fixed effects wage equation indicate that the male marriage wage premium is not substantially affected by controls for home production activities. Household specialization, the authors conclude, does not appear to have been responsible for the marriage premium in this sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household Specialization and the Male Marriage Wage Premium," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:54:y:2000:i:1:p:78-94
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Jeandidier & Helen Lim, 2015. "Is there justification for alimony payments? A survey of the empirical literature," Working Papers of BETA 2015-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    2. Nabanita Datta Gupta & Nina Smith & Leslie S. Stratton, 2007. "Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 412-433, October.
    3. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Daniel L. Millimet & Dipanwita Sarkar, 2009. "Who Benefits from Marriage?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 71(1), pages 1-33, February.
    4. Antecol, Heather & Steinberger, Michael D., 2009. "Female Labor Supply Differences by Sexual Orientation: A Semi-Parametric Decomposition Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4029, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. William M. Rodgers & Leslie S. Stratton, 2010. "Male Marital Wage Differentials: Training, Personal Characteristics, And Fixed Effects," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 722-742, July.
    6. Elena Bardasi & Mark Taylor, 2008. "Marriage and Wages: A Test of the Specialization Hypothesis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 569-591, August.
    7. Sergey Roshchin & Victor Rudakov, 2015. "Do Starting Salaries for Graduates Measure the Quality of Education? A Review of Studies by Russian and Foreign Authors," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 137-181.
    8. Doris Weichselbaumer, 2015. "Testing for Discrimination against Lesbians of Different Marital Status: A Field Experiment," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 131-161, January.
    9. Almudena Sevilla-Sanz & Mark L. Bryan, 2007. "Does Housework Lower Wages and Why? Evidence for Britain," Economics Series Working Papers 331, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    10. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0632-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Lars Lefgren & Frank McIntyre, 2006. "The Relationship between Women's Education and Marriage Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 787-830, October.
    12. repec:kap:poprpr:v:37:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11113-017-9454-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:kap:jfamec:v:38:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10834-016-9507-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Kunze, Astrid, 2016. "The effect of children on earnings inequality among men," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145823, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0566-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Niklas Jakobsson & Andreas Kotsadam, 2016. "Does marriage affect men’s labor market outcomes? A European perspective," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 373-389, June.
    17. Roberto Bonilla & Francis Z. Kiraly & John Wildman, 2017. "Marriage Premium and Class," CESifo Working Paper Series 6550, CESifo Group Munich.
    18. Olivier Donni & Eleonora Matteazzi, 2016. "Collective Decisions, Household Production, and the Labor Force Participation," THEMA Working Papers 2016-05, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    19. Madeline Zavodny, 2008. "Is there a ‘marriage premium’ for gay men?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 369-389, December.
    20. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    21. Collischon, Matthias, 2016. "Personality, ability, marriage and the gender wage gap: Evidence from Germany," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 08/2016, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    22. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew M & Høgsnes, Geir, 2014. "From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2hk409sk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    23. Dacuycuy, Connie B., 2016. "Wages, Housework, and Attitudes in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2016-36, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    24. Fallesen, Peter, 2016. "Downward spiral: The impact of out-of-home placement on paternal welfare dependency," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 45-55.

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