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Gender differences and the timing of first marriages

  • Giolito, Eugenio P.
  • Díaz-Giménez, Javier

In this article we provide a simple model of the marriage market where singles search for spouses. In our model economy men and women live for many years and they differ in their survival probabilities, in their fecundity, and in their earnings. We show that modelling the marriage decision in a very simple model economy is sufficient to account for much of the observed marriage behavior in the United States in the year 2000. We conclude that gender differences in fecundity are all important in accounting for marriage behavior, and that differences in earnings matter little. We also conclude that, even though they are in short supply, the market power of fecund women is not enough for them to demand compensation in all cases. And that studying the marriage decision without modelling explicitly the roles played by age and by fecundity, as has been typically done by the previous literature, makes little sense.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía in its series UC3M Working papers. Economics with number we080804.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we080804
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.eco.uc3m.es/

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  1. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnali, M., 1991. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 91-3, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  2. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  3. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, 08.
  4. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.
  5. Aloysius Siow, 1996. "Differential Fecundity, Markets and Gender Roles," Working Papers siow-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  6. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
  7. Coles, Melvyn & Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 2612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  9. George A. Akerlof & Janet L. Yellen & Michael L. Katz, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317.
  10. Shannon Seitz, 2009. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 385-437, 07.
  11. Eugenio Giolito, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," Labor and Demography 0402007, EconWPA.
  12. Aloysius Siow & Eugene Choo, 2007. "Lifecycle marriage matching: Theory and Evidence," 2007 Meeting Papers 550, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 2007. "Class, Gender and Marriage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 549-575, October.
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