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The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay


  • Petersen, Trond
  • Penner, Andrew
  • Hogsnes, Geir


We investigate whether the male marital and parenthood premia arise due to differential pay by employers or from differential sorting of employees on occupations and establishments. We investigate these premia in Norway using matched employee-employer data in the period 1980–97, a country where public policy has made it easier to combine family and career, with the clearest first-order impact on women, but with possibly attendant increased pressures on men to be more active in the family sphere. We find that the effect of marriage, and to a lesser extent of children, occurs mostly through sorting on occupations and occupation-establishment units. The role of differential pay from employers is marginal in explaining the marital and parenthood premia. We also find that about 50–75% of the martial premium is due to selection. The men who eventually marry and/or have children sort into the higher paying occupations and occupation-establishment units even prior to marriage and parenthood. There are no marital premia on wage growth within establishments, but marital premia on promotions. Part of the marital wage premium is thus due to higher promotion rates for married men.

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  • Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew & Hogsnes, Geir, 2006. "The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2053f73v, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt2053f73v

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. 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.
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    12. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 1999. "Persistence of Interindustry Wage Differentials: A Reexamination Using Matched Worker-Firm Panel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 492-533, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sean de Hoon & Renske Keizer & Pearl Dykstra, 2015. "The Male Marriage Wage Premium in Cross-National Perspective," LIS Working papers 642, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

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