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The Marriage Earnings Premium as a Distributed Fixed Effect

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  • Christopher Dougherty

Abstract

Wage equations using cross-sectional data typically find an earnings premium in excess of 10 percent for married men. One leading hypothesis for the premium is that marriage facilitates specialization that enables married men to become more productive than single men. Another is that the premium is attributable to an unobserved fixed effect, married men possessing qualities that are valued in the labor market as well as the marriage market. This paper suggests that the premium is attributable to an unobserved timedistributed fixed effect that emerges and grows with the approach of marriage and continues to grow for some years after marriage. A similar distributed fixed effect is found in the case of women, but it is smaller and declines after a few years of marriage. The results appear to cast doubt on the specialization hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Dougherty, 2006. "The Marriage Earnings Premium as a Distributed Fixed Effect," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:41:y:2006:i:2:p433-443
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Donna K. Ginther & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Is the male marriage premium due to selection? The effect of shotgun weddings on the return to marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 313-328.
    2. Leonard A. Carlson & Caroline Swartz, 1988. "The Earnings of Women and Ethnic Minorities, 1959–1979," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(4), pages 530-546, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Harry A. Krashinsky, 2004. "Do Marital Status and Computer Usage Really Change the Wage Structure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
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    Cited by:

    1. Hällsten, Martin, 2012. "Is it ever too late to study? The economic returns on late tertiary degrees in Sweden," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 179-194.
    2. Amélie Lafrance & Casey Warman & Frances Woolley, 2009. "Sexual Identity And The Marriage Premium," Working Papers 1219, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    3. Bruno Jeandidier & Helen Lim, 2015. "Is there justification for alimony payments? A survey of the empirical literature," Working Papers of BETA 2015-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Lina Aldén & Lena Edlund & Mats Hammarstedt & Michael Mueller-Smith, 2015. "Effect of Registered Partnership on Labor Earnings and Fertility for Same-Sex Couples: Evidence From Swedish Register Data," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(4), pages 1243-1268, August.
    5. Y. Saks, 2016. "Socio-economic transitions on the labour market : a European benchmarking exercise," Economic Review, National Bank of Belgium, issue iii, pages 41-58, December.
    6. Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi, 2014. "The Wage Gap against Gay Men: The Leveling of the Playing Field," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 330-345, August.
    7. Martin Dribe & Paul Nystedt, 2013. "Educational Homogamy and Gender-Specific Earnings: Sweden, 1990–2009," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1197-1216, August.
    8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:10:y:2007:i:15:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Fabian Kratz & Josef Brüderl, 2012. "Returns to Regional Migration: Causal Effect or Selection on Wage Growth?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 494, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Aistov, Andrey, 2013. "Marital wage gap," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 99-114.
    11. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0566-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. PAN, Jay & QIN, Xuezheng & LIU, Gordon G., 2013. "The impact of body size on urban employment: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 249-263.
    13. Anthony Stair, 2007. "Marital Wage Premium or Ability Selection? The Case of Taiwan 1979-2003," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(15), pages 1-11.
    14. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline, 2014. "The economics of marriage in North Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 067, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Madeline Zavodny, 2008. "Is there a ‘marriage premium’ for gay men?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 369-389, December.
    16. Rodionova, Lilia, 2013. "Econometric analysis of the effect of marital status change on wages in Russia," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 79-98.
    17. Martin Dribe & Jan Van Bavel & Cameron Campbell, 2012. "Social mobility and demographic behaviour: Long term perspectives," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 26(8), pages 173-190, March.
    18. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew M & Høgsnes, Geir, 2014. "From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2hk409sk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.

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