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Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Pre-Marital Investments with Assortative Matching

Author

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  • Bhaskar, Venkataraman
  • Hopkins, Ed

Abstract

We study the incentives of parents to invest in their children when these investments improve their marriage prospects, in a frictionless marriage market with non-transferable utility. Stochastic returns to investment eliminate the multiplicity of equilibria that plagues models with deterministic returns, and ensure that a unique equilibrium often exists. Equilibrium investment is efficient when there is complete symmetry between the sexes. However, when there is any asymmetry between the sexes, including an unbalanced sex ratio, investments are generically excessively relative to Pareto-efficiency. Our model can be used for examine several implications of gender differences. For example, if shocks are more variable for boys than for girls, girls will invest more than boys. If there is an excess of boys, then there is parental over-investment in boys and under-investment in girls, and total investment will be excessive.

Suggested Citation

  • Bhaskar, Venkataraman & Hopkins, Ed, 2011. "Marriage as a Rat Race: Noisy Pre-Marital Investments with Assortative Matching," CEPR Discussion Papers 8529, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8529
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Georg Nöldeke & Larry Samuelson, 2015. "Investment and Competitive Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83(3), pages 835-896, May.
    2. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2016. "A Darwinian perspective on “exchange rate undervaluation”," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 111-138.
    3. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2013. "A theory of the competitive saving motive," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 275-289.
    4. repec:aea:jeclit:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:493-544 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2018. "Wage inequality, labor income taxes, and the notion of social status," Economics Discussion Papers 2018-41, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Trégouët, Thomas, 2015. "Gender-based price discrimination in matching markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 34-45.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    assortative matching tournament; ex ante investments; gender differences; marriage; sex ratio.;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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