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

  • Daniela Casale
  • Dorrit Posel
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    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.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/647976
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    Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

    Volume (Year): 58 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (01)
    Pages: 211-230

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    Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:v:58:y:2010:i:2:p:211-230
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/EDCC/

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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, 09.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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).
    10. 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 307-19, April.
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