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Who Benefits from Marriage?

  • Esfandiar Maasoumi
  • Daniel L. Millimet
  • Dipanwita Sarkar

The phenomenon that married men earn higher average wages than unmarried men, the so-called marriage premium, is well known. However, the robustness of the marriage premium across the wage distribution and the underlying causes of the marriage premium deserve closer scrutiny. Focusing on the entire wage distribution and employing recently developed semi-nonparametric tests for quantile treatment effects, our findings cast doubt on the robustness of the premium. We find that the premium is explained by selection above the median, whereas a positive premium is obtained only at very low wages. We argue that the causal effect at low wages is probably attributable to employer discrimination.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta) in its series Emory Economics with number 0807.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:0807
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  1. Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 7(3), pages 247-70, July.
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  3. Donna K. Ginther & Madeline Zavodny, 2001. "Is the male marriage premium due to selection? The effect of shotgun weddings on the return to marriage," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(2), pages 313-328.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S11-S26, Part II, .
  5. Oliver Linton & Esfandiar Maasoumi & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2002. "Consistent testing for stochastic dominance : a subsampling approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2207, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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  8. Abadie A., 2002. "Bootstrap Tests for Distributional Treatment Effects in Instrumental Variable Models," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 284-292, March.
  9. Marianne Bitler & Jonah Gelbach & Hilary Hoynes, 2003. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," NBER Working Papers 10121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Leslie S. Stratton, 2002. "Examining the Wage Differential for Married and Cohabiting Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 199-212, April.
  11. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  12. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
  13. Esfandiar Maasoumi & Almas Heshmati, 2000. "Stochastic dominance amongst swedish income distributions," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(3), pages 287-320.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  15. Jacobsen, Joyce P & Rayack, Wendy L, 1996. "Do Men Whose Wives Work Really Earn Less?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 268-73, May.
  16. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  17. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-94, April.
  18. Millimet, Daniel L. & Nieswiadomy, Michael & Ryu, Hang & Slottje, Daniel, 2003. "Estimating worklife expectancy: an econometric approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(1), pages 83-113, March.
  19. David Neumark & Sanders Korenman, 1988. "Does marriage really make men more productive?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 29, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  20. Harry A. Krashinsky, 2004. "Do Marital Status and Computer Usage Really Change the Wage Structure?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  21. Eng Seng Loh, 1996. "Productivity Differences and the Marriage Wage Premium for White Males," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 566-589.
  22. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-19, April.
  23. Michael Sattinger (ed.), 2001. "Income Distribution," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 2018.
  24. Daniel L. Millimet & Esfandiar Maasoumi, 2005. "Robust inference concerning recent trends in US environmental quality," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 55-77.
  25. Duncan, Greg J. & Holmlund, Bertil, 1983. "Was Adam Smith Right, After All? Another Test of the Theory of Compensating Wage Differentials," Working Paper Series 93, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  26. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin, 1997. "Estimating Outcome Distributions for Compliers in Instrumental Variables Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 555-574.
  27. Jeffrey S. Gray, 1997. "The Fall in Men's Return to Marriage: Declining Productivity Effects or Changing Selection?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 481-504.
  28. Kate Antonovics & Robert Town, 2004. "Are All the Good Men Married? Uncovering the Sources of the Marital Wage Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 317-321, May.
  29. Gunnar Isacsson, 2007. "Twin Data vs. Longitudinal Data to Control for Unobserved Variables in Earnings Functions - Which Are the Differences?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(3), pages 339-362, 06.
  30. Gray, Jeffrey S, 1998. "Divorce-Law Changes, Household Bargaining, and Married Women's Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 628-42, June.
  31. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household Specialization and the Male Marriage Wage Premium," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  32. Robert A. Nakosteen & Michael A. Zimmer, 1987. "Marital Status and Earnings of Young Men: A Model with Endogenous Selection," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 248-268.
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