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

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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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    Citations

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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. Frédéric Gavrel, 2019. "One Dynamic Game for Two Veblenian Ideas. Income Redistribution is Pareto-Improving in the Presence of Social Concerns," Working Papers halshs-02083460, HAL.
    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. Dizdar, Deniz & Moldovanu, Benny & Szech, Nora, 2019. "The feedback effect in two-sided markets with bilateral investments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 182(C), pages 106-142.
    5. Hector Chade & Jan Eeckhout & Lones Smith, 2017. "Sorting through Search and Matching Models in Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(2), pages 493-544, June.
    6. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2019. "Wage inequality, labor income taxes, and the notion of social status," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 13, pages 1-35.
    7. Bilancini, Ennio & Boncinelli, Leonardo, 2020. "When today’s rewards are tomorrow’s endowments: The effects of inequality on social competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    8. Alessandro Cigno & Annalisa Luporini, 2019. "Student loans and the allocation of graduate jobs," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(1), pages 339-378, February.
    9. Aner Sela, 2020. "Two-Stage Matching Contests," Working Papers 2005, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    10. Zhang, Hanzhe, 2020. "Pre-matching gambles," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 76-89.
    11. Trégouët, Thomas, 2015. "Gender-based price discrimination in matching markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 34-45.
    12. Nie, Guangyu, 2020. "Marriage squeeze, marriage age and the household savings rate in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C).
    13. Du, Qingyuan & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2016. "A Darwinian perspective on “exchange rate undervaluation”," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 111-138.
    14. Malina, Christiane, 2019. "A normative analysis of subsidization of all-electric vehicles in Germany," CAWM Discussion Papers 109, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    15. Parakhonyak, Alexey & Popov, Sergey V, 2019. "Same-Sex Marriage, The Great Equalizer," Cardiff Economics Working Papers E2019/2, Cardiff University, Cardiff Business School, Economics Section.
    16. Chen Cohen & Ishay Rabi & Aner Sela, 2020. "Assortative Matching Contests," Working Papers 2004, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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