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Courtship as a Waiting Game

  • Bergstrom, Theodore C
  • Bagnoli, Mark

In most times and places, women on average marry older men. The authors suggest a partial explanation. If the economi c roles of males are more specialized than those of females, the desirability of a female as a mate may become evident at an earlier age than is the case for males. Males with good prospects will wait unti l their economic success is revealed before choosing a bride. Those wi th poor prospects try to marry young. In equilibrium, the most desirabl e young females choose successful older males. The less desirable youn g females have no better option than to marry available young males. Copyright 1993 by University of Chicago Press.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 101 (1993)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 185-202

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:101:y:1993:i:1:p:185-202
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  1. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1992. "Two-sided matching," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, in: R.J. Aumann & S. Hart (ed.), Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 485-541 Elsevier.
  2. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  3. Bergstrom, T & Schoeni, R-F, 1996. "Income Prospects and Age-at-Marriage," Papers 96-18, RAND - Reprint Series.
  4. 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, .
  5. Keeley, Michael C, 1977. "The Economics of Family Formation," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(2), pages 238-50, April.
  6. Egbert Dierker, 1989. "Competition for Customers," Discussion Paper Serie A 244, University of Bonn, Germany.
  7. Bagnoli, M. & Bergstrom, T., 1989. "Log-Concave Probability And Its Applications," Papers 89-23, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
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