IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/6828.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Genes, Legitimacy and Hypergamy: Another Look at the Economics of Marriage

Author

Listed:
  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

Abstract

In order to credibly "sell" legitimate children to their spouse, women must forego more attractive mating opportunities. This paper derives the implications of this observation for the pattern of matching in marriage markets, the dynamics of human capital accumulation, and the evolution of the gene pool. A key consequence of the trade-off faced by women is that marriage markets will naturally tend to be hypergamous - that is, a marriage is more likely to be beneficial to both parties relative to remaining single, the greater the man?s human capital, and the lower the woman?s human capital. As a consequence, it is shown that the equilibrium can only be of two types. In the "Victorian" type, all agents marry somebody of the same rank in the distribution of income. In the "Sex and the City" (SATC) type, women marry men who are better ranked than themselves. There is a mass of unmarried men at the bottom of the distribution of human capital, and a mass of single women at the top of that distribution. It is shown that the economy switches from a Victorian to an SATC equilibrium as inequality goes up. The model sheds light on how marriage affects the returns to human capital for men and women. Absent marriage, these returns are larger for women than for men but the opposite may occur if marriage prevails. Finally, it is shown that the institution of marriage may or may not favour human capital accumulation depending on how genes affect one?s productivity at accumulating human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2008. "Genes, Legitimacy and Hypergamy: Another Look at the Economics of Marriage," CEPR Discussion Papers 6828, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6828
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cepr.org/publications/DP6828
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344.
    2. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    3. Eric D. Gould & Omer Moav & Avi Simhon, 2008. "The Mystery of Monogamy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 333-357, March.
    4. Ken Burdett & Melvyn G. Coles, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-168.
    5. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    6. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2001. "On the Distribution of Income and Worker Assignment under Intrafirm Spillovers, with an Application to Ideas and Networks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-37, February.
    7. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, March.
    8. Lena Edlund, 2006. "Marriage: Past, Present, Future?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 52(4), pages 621-639, December.
    9. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2000. "On the State of the Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 213-244, April.
    10. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    11. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Victoria, Sex and the City and why women get married
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-10-22 15:34:00

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. David De La Croix & Fabio Mariani, 2015. "From Polygyny to Serial Monogamy: A Unified Theory of Marriage Institutions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 565-607.
    2. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Belot, Michèle & Fidrmuc, Jan, 2010. "Anthropometry of love: Height and gender asymmetries in interethnic marriages," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 361-372, December.
    5. Brishti Guha, 2012. "Gambling on Genes: Ambiguity Aversion Explains Investment in Sisters’ Children," Working Papers 33-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    6. Brishti Guha, 2012. "Grandparents as Guards: A Game Theoretic Analysis of Inheritance and Post Marital Residence in a World of Uncertain Paternity," Working Papers 37-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    7. Dirk Bethmann & Michael Kvasnicka, 2011. "The institution of marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 1005-1032, July.
    8. Lena Edlund, 2013. "The Role of Paternity Presumption and Custodial Rights for Understanding Marriage Patterns," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(320), pages 650-669, October.
    9. Fujii, Tomoki, 2017. "Dynamic Poverty Decomposition Analysis: An Application to the Philippines," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 69-84.
    10. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2016. "An evolutionary theory of monogamy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 605-628.
    11. Min-Su Chung & Keunjae Lee, 2022. "Hypergamy Among South Korean Women and Its Implications for the Marriage Rate," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 41(3), pages 929-951, June.
    12. Dirk Bethmann, 2011. "Marriage Regimes," FEMM Working Papers 110029, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management.
    13. Jacques Silber & Sasiwimon Warunsiri Paweenawat & Lusi Liao, 2022. "On the measurement of non-random mating and of its change over time," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 161-198, March.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Lena Edlund, 2013. "The Role of Paternity Presumption and Custodial Rights for Understanding Marriage Patterns," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(320), pages 650-669, October.
    2. Fernandez, Raquel, 2002. "Education, segregation and marital sorting: theory and an application to the UK," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(6), pages 993-1022, June.
    3. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2009. "On the Origin of the Family," IZA Discussion Papers 4637, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344.
    5. Francesconi, Marco & Ghiglino, Christian & Perry, Motty, 2016. "An evolutionary theory of monogamy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 605-628.
    6. Isaac Ehrlich & Jinyoung Kim, 2007. "The Evolution of Income and Fertility Inequalities over the Course of Economic Development: A Human Capital Perspective," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 137-174.
    7. Giolito, Eugenio, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," IZA Discussion Papers 1082, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Marion Goussé & Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean-Marc Robin, 2016. "Marriage, Labor Supply, and Home Production: A Longitudinal Microeconomic Analysis of Marriage, Intra-Household Bargaining and Time Use Using the BHPS, 1991-2008," Cahiers de recherche 1601, CIRPEE.
    9. Raquel Fernández & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1305-1341.
    10. Marion Goussé & Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean‐Marc Robin, 2017. "Marriage, Labor Supply, and Home Production," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85(6), pages 1873-1919, November.
    11. Matthias Doepke & Michèle Tertilt, 2009. "Women's Liberation: What's in It for Men?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1541-1591.
    12. Fernandez, Raquel & Gali, Jordi, 1997. "To Each According to ...?: Markets, Tournaments, and The Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 97-11, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    13. 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.
    14. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/5qto0mb54p8u69nt9krvc2btjm is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2002. "Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(3), pages 955-986, August.
    16. Allen R. Sanderson & John J. Siegfried, 2003. "Thinking about Competitive Balance," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 4(4), pages 255-279, November.
    17. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2001. "On the Distribution of Income and Worker Assignment under Intrafirm Spillovers, with an Application to Ideas and Networks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 1-37, February.
    18. Gould, Eric D. & Moav, Omer & Simhon, Avi, 2012. "Lifestyles of the rich and polygynous in Cote d’Ivoire," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 404-407.
    19. Bjerk, David, 2009. "Beauty vs. earnings: Gender differences in earnings and priorities over spousal characteristics in a matching model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 248-259, March.
    20. Gautier, Pieter A. & Svarer, Michael & Teulings, Coen, 2005. "Marriage and the City," IZA Discussion Papers 1491, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Yamamura, Eiji, 2009. "Socio-economic status, gender, and spouse’s earnings: affect of family background on matching," MPRA Paper 17100, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage markets; Human capital accumulation; Hypergamy; Overlapping generations; Legitimacy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K36 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Family and Personal Law
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6828. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.