On the Age at Marriage: Theory and Evidence from Jews and Moslems in Israel
In this paper we extend the Becker-Keeley and Bergstrom-Bagnoli theories of the optimal age at marriage and derive systematic cross-cultural differences in the marriage pattern. We then examine the empirical relevance of the hypotheses for Jewish and Moslem population groups in Israel. The empirical analysis is more detailed than previous studies by, for example, splitting the sample according to the wife's labour market status. The evidence supports the Becker-Keeley prediction about the effects of the spouses' wage rates, the Bergstrom-Bagnoli prediction about the effect of the husband's wage rate in a traditional society, and the various hypotheses we propose.
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