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Positive Assortative Mating and Spouses as Complementary Factors of Production: A Theory of Labor Augmentation

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  • Paul Gabriel
  • Peter Groothuis

Abstract

This paper develops a model of intellectual labor augmentation to explain both the marriage wage premium and educational assortative mating. We suggest that husbands and wives are complementary factors of production where a spouse’s education and skills augment their partner’s productivity and earnings potential. We test this proposition using data from the 2000 U.S. Census of Population and the 2003 Current Population Survey. Our results indicate that for working couples the marriage premium for husbands and wives is directly related to the education level of their spouses -- suggesting that positive assortative mating may be attributable to the labor market effects of intellectual augmentation of married households.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Gabriel & Peter Groothuis, 2005. "Positive Assortative Mating and Spouses as Complementary Factors of Production: A Theory of Labor Augmentation," Working Papers 05-14, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:05-14
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    File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp0514.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-294, April.
    2. Suen, Wing & Lui, Hon-Kwong, 1999. "A Direct Test of the Efficient Marriage Market Hypothesis," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 37(1), pages 29-46, January.
    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. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
    5. Bowlus, Audra J, 1997. "A Search Interpretation of Male-Female Wage Differentials," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(4), pages 625-657, October.
    6. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    7. Nakosteen, Robert A & Zimmer, Michael A, 2001. "Spouse Selection and Earnings: Evidence of Marital Sorting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 201-213, April.
    8. 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.
    9. Reed, W Robert & Harford, Kathleen, 1989. "The Marriage Premium and Compensating Wage Differentials," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 2(4), pages 237-265.
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    Cited by:

    1. Colman, Gregory & Dave, Dhaval, 2013. "Exercise, physical activity, and exertion over the business cycle," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 11-20.
    2. Clouston, Sean A.P. & Quesnel-Vallée, Amélie, 2012. "The role of defamilialization in the relationship between partnership and self-rated health: A cross-national comparison of Canada and the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1342-1350.
    3. Sanjaya DeSilva & Mohammed Mehrab Bin Bakhtiar, 2011. "Women, Schooling, and Marriage in Rural Philippines," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_701, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. Tracy Roberts & Steven Martin, 2010. "Welfare Exit, Marriage, and Welfare Recidivism: A Reevaluation of Patterns of the 1980s and 1990s," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 29(2), pages 105-125, April.

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