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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://economics.emory.edu/home/journals/
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  1. Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-70, July.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bitler, Marianne P. & Gelbach, Jonah B. & Hoynes, Hilary W., 2005. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," IZA Discussion Papers 1728, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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.
  5. Donna Ginther & Madeline Zavodny, 1998. "Is the male marriage premium due to selection? The effect of shotgun weddings on the return to marriage," Working Paper 97-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  6. 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.
  7. Oliver Linton & Esfandiar Maasoumi & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2002. "Consistent Testing for Stochastic Dominance: A Subsampling Approach," STICERD - Econometrics Paper Series 433, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  8. 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.
  9. Joni Hersch & Leslie S. Stratton, 2000. "Household specialization and the male marriage wage premium," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 78-94, October.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Joni Hersch, 1991. "Male-female differences in hourly wages: The role of human capital, working conditions, and housework," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 746-759, July.
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  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. repec:cep:stiecm:/2002/433 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. 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.
  19. David Neumark & Daiji Kawaguchi, 2001. "Attrition Bias in Economic Relationships Estimated with Matched CPS Files," NBER Working Papers 8663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Sanders Korenman & David Neumark, 1991. "Does Marriage Really Make Men More Productive?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 26(2), pages 282-307.
  22. Imbens, Guido W & Rubin, Donald B, 1997. "Estimating Outcome Distributions for Compliers in Instrumental Variables Models," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 555-74, October.
  23. 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.
  24. Sergio Firpo, 2004. "Efficient Semiparametric Estimation of Quantile Treatment Effects," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 605, Econometric Society.
  25. 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.
  26. 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).
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Heshmati, Almas & Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1998. "Stochastic Dominance Amongst Swedish Income Distributions," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 279, Stockholm School of Economics.
  32. 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.
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