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The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential


  • Blackburn, McKinley
  • Korenman, Sanders


Earnings differentials between married and unmarried men have been declining since the late 1960s. We consider two possible explanations for this decline: changes in the nature of selection into marriage; and changes in role specialization within marriage. Our analysis of changes in marriage differentials within cohorts supports only a small contribution of changes in selection. There is some evidence that differences in human-capital investment between married and unmarried men have fallen over time, but this effect has apparently been largely offset by increases in the return to that human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(3), pages 247-270, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:7:y:1994:i:3:p:247-70

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1992. "Marriage, Motherhood, and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 233-255.
    2. Lam, David & Schoeni, Robert F, 1993. "Effects of Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 710-740, August.
    3. 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.
    4. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-250, April.
    5. 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, .
    6. 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..
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