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The Male Marital Earnings Premium in the Context of Bride Wealth Payments: Evidence from South Africa

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  • Daniela Casale
  • Dorrit Posel

Abstract

This study explores the nature of the male marital earnings premium in the context of a developing country in which the payment of bride wealth is practiced. We use data from the South African Labor Force Survey of September 2004 and the Labor Force Survey Panel (2001-4), the first national panel available in South Africa. We show that a robust and positive premium to marriage in cross-sectional estimations is substantially reduced after controlling for individual fixed effects. Furthermore, we find evidence of an additional source of endogeneity created by the positive selection of men into marriage with faster earnings growth in the initial periods of the panel. Our results are to be expected if the payment of bride wealth or ilobolo, by a prospective husband to the bride's family, is a significant constraint to marriage among black men in South Africa. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniela Casale & Dorrit Posel, 2010. "The Male Marital Earnings Premium in the Context of Bride Wealth Payments: Evidence from South Africa," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58(2), pages 211-230, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:58:y:2010:i:2:p:211-230
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Avner Ahituv & Robert Lerman, 2007. "How do marital status, work effort, and wage rates interact?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(3), pages 623-647, August.
    2. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
    3. Kate Antonovics & Robert Town, 2004. "Are All the Good Men Married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 317-321, May.
    4. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
    5. Siv Gustafsson & Seble Y. Worku, 2006. "Marriage Markets and Single Motherhood in South Africa," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-102/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Rodgers III, William M. & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "The Male Marital Wage Differential: Race, Training, and Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Robert A. Nakosteen & Michael A. Zimmer, 1987. "Marital Status and Earnings of Young Men: A Model with Endogenous Selection," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 248-268.
    8. Dorrit Posel & Daniela Casale, 2003. "What has been happening to Internal Labour Migration in South Africa, 1993-1999?," Working Papers 03074, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    9. Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Examining the Wage Differential for Married and Cohabiting Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 199-212, April.
    10. Dorrit Posel & Daniela Casale, 2003. "What Has Been Happening To Internal Labour Migration In South Africa, 1993-1999?," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 71(3), pages 455-479, September.
    11. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-319, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Casale, Daniela & Posel, Dorrit, 2011. "English language proficiency and earnings in a developing country: The case of South Africa," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 385-393, August.
    2. Shing-Yi Wang, 2013. "Marriage Networks, Nepotism, and Labor Market Outcomes in China," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 91-112, July.
    3. Haroon Bhorat & Sumayya Goga, 2012. "The Gender Wage Gap in the Post-apartheid South African Labour Market," Working Papers 12148, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.

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