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

  • Bhaskar, V.
  • Hopkins, Ed

We study the incentive to invest to improve marriage prospects, in a frictionless marriage market with non-transferable utility. Stochastic returns to investment eliminate the multiplicity of equilibria in models with deterministic returns, and a unique equilibrium exists under reasonable conditions. Equilibrium investment is efficient when the sexes are symmetric. However, when there is any asymmetry, including an unbalanced sex ratio, investments are generically excessive. For example, 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.

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Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2011-65.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:339
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  1. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 2001. "Transplants and Implants: The Economics of Self-Improvement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 597-616, August.
  2. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 43, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Lazear, Edward P & Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 841-64, October.
  4. V. Bhaskar, 2011. "Sex Selection and Gender Balance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 214-44, February.
  5. Ed Hopkins, 2005. "Job Market Signalling of Relative Position, or Becker Married to Spence," ESE Discussion Papers 134, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Holdups and Efficiency with Search Frictions," Working papers 98-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Hoppe, Heidrun C. & Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 2006. "The Theory of Assortative Matching Based on Costly Signals," CEPR Discussion Papers 5543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2010. "Which Inequality? The Inequality of Endowments versus the Inequality of Rewards," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 106-37, August.
  9. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  10. Murat Nick & P. Randall Walsh, 2007. "Building the Family Nest: Premarital Investments, Marriage Markets, and Spousal Allocations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 507-535.
  11. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2000. "Competing Pre-marital Investments," Working Papers peters-00-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  12. repec:bla:restud:v:76:y:2009:i:1:p:253-281 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Thomas Gall & Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2009. "Mis-match, Re-match, and Investment," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-189, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  14. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
  15. George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson, 2010. ""Pricing and Investments in Matching Markets",Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 10-037, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 30 Nov 2010.
  16. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
  17. Peters, Michael, 2004. "The Pre-Marital Investment Game," working papers peters-04-02-18-01-42-09, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 13 Sep 2006.
  18. V. Bhaskar, 2011. "Corrigendum: Sex Selection and Gender Balance," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 252-53, May.
  19. Peters, Michael, 2006. "Truncated Hedonic Equilibrium," working papers peters-06-04-11-02-42-39, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 03 Mar 2009.
  20. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  21. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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