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Income Prospects and Age-at-Marriage

  • Bergstrom, Ted
  • Schoeni, Robert F

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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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 9 (1996)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 115-30

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:9:y:1996:i:2:p:115-30
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  1. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, . "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers _030, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  2. 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, .
  3. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1990. "Marriage, Motherhood, and Wages," NBER Working Papers 3473, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
  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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