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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we080804
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  1. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," Penn CARESS Working Papers 65f9ffed93b3a872de23c94c2, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," IZA Discussion Papers 1082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. Aloysius Siow & Eugene Choo, 2007. "Lifecycle marriage matching: Theory and Evidence," 2007 Meeting Papers 550, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 5224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  8. 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.
  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. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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).
  13. 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.
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