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The Married Widow: Marriage Penalties Matter!

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Baker

    (University of Toronto and NBER)

  • Emily Hanna

    (University of Toronto)

  • Jasmin Kantarevic

    (University of Toronto)

Abstract

Marriage penalties are a controversial feature of many government policies. Empirical evidence of their behavioral effects is quite mixed, which is surprising because economic theory predicts that they should have an impact on the headship decision. We investigate the removal of marriage penalties from the surviving spouse pensions of the Canadian public pension system in the 1980s. These reforms provide a simple and transparent source of identification. Our results indicate that marriage penalties can have large and persistent effects on marriage decisions. We also present evidence suggesting that it is individuals with characteristics correlated with greater wealth who respond to the penalties. (JEL: J1, H2) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Baker & Emily Hanna & Jasmin Kantarevic, 2004. "The Married Widow: Marriage Penalties Matter!," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 634-664, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:4:p:634-664
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Robert Moffitt & Robert Reville & Anne Winkler, 1998. "Beyond single mothers: Cohabitation and marriage in the AFDC program," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 35(3), pages 259-278, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eugene Choo & Shannon Seitz & Aloysius Siow, 2008. "Marriage matching, risk sharing and spousal labor supplies," Working Papers tecipa-332, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    2. Martin Halla, 2009. "The Effect of Joint Custody on Marriage and Divorce," NRN working papers 2009-09, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    3. Milligan, Kevin & Schirle, Tammy, 2013. "The Retirement Income System and the Risks Faced by Canadian Seniors," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2013-27, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 29 Apr 2013.
    4. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2005. "Social Security, Demographic Trends, and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience," NBER Working Papers 11121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Wolfgang Frimmel & Martin Halla & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, 2014. "Can Pro-Marriage Policies Work? An Analysis of Marginal Marriages," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(4), pages 1357-1379, August.
    6. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2007. "Social Security and Demographic Trends: Theory and Evidence from the International Experience," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(1), pages 55-77, January.
    7. Salisbury, Laura, 2017. "Women's Income and Marriage Markets in the United States: Evidence from the Civil War Pension," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 77(01), pages 1-38, March.
    8. Fink, Alexander, 2016. "Income taxation and the timing of marriage," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145827, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents

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