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Income prospects and age-at-marriage

  • Ted Bergstrom
  • Robert Schoeni

This paper provides an empirical investigation of a theoretical model of the marriage market. In the model, women are valued more for their ability to bear children and men are valued more for their ability to make money. Men cannot reveal their labor market ability to potential spouses until they enter the labor force. At the same time, the relevant information for evaluating females as spouses is revealed at a younger age. The model predicts that the income of males will be positively associated with age-at-first-marriage. We find empirical support for the model. However, we also find the association between male earnings and age-at-first-marriage becomes negative for those who married after age 30, which was not predicted by the model. Consistent with the model, we do not find a strong relationship between earnings and age-at-first-marriage among females.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/PL00003834
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 115-130

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:9:y:1996:i:2:p:115-130
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  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. 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 710-40, August.
  3. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  4. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
  5. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1992. "Marriage, Motherhood, and Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 233-255.
  6. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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