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Women's economic gains from employment, marriage and cohabitation

  • Nandi, Alita

U.S. public policy promotes both marriage and labor market participation as strategies for improving the economic welfare of low-income women and their children. Here I compare women’s economic gains from marriage, cohabitation and employment. Using data from the NLSY79, I estimate a fixed-effects model of household income (adjusted for household composition). I find that among “poor†women (those who ever received welfare), the log household income of single, nonemployed women would increase by 0.80 if they enter a cohabiting union, 1.04 if they marry, 0.76 if they work part-time (1000 hours/year), and 1.16 if they work full-time (2000 hours/year).

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2008-23.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2008-23.

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Date of creation: 10 Jul 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-23
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/Email:


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Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Web: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/ Email:


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  1. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  2. David Neumark, 1987. "Employers' discriminatory behavior and the estimation of wage discrimination," Special Studies Papers 227, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  8. Weiss, Yoram, 1993. "The formation and dissolution of families: Why marry? Who marries whom? And what happens upon divorce," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 81-123 Elsevier.
  9. Lynch, Lisa M, 1992. "Private-Sector Training and the Earnings of Young Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 299-312, March.
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  11. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  12. Martin Browning & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 2006. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Economics Series Working Papers 289, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Nelson, Julie A, 1992. "Methods of Estimating Household Equivalence Scales: An Empirical Investigation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(3), pages 295-310, September.
  14. 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.
  15. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
  16. Ribar, David C., 2004. "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage? A Review of Quantitative Methodologies," IZA Discussion Papers 998, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  17. 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.
  18. Wendy Manning & Pamela Smock, 1995. "Why marry? Race and the transition to marriage among cohabitors," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(4), pages 509-520, November.
  19. Kenny, Lawrence W, 1983. "The Accumulation of Human Capital during Marriage by Males," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 223-31, April.
  20. David Neumark & Sanders D. 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.).
  21. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
  22. Blackburn, McKinley & Korenman, Sanders, 1994. "The Declining Marital-Status Earnings Differential," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 247-70, July.
  23. Eric D. Gould, 2008. "Marriage and Career: The Dynamic Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 337-378.
  24. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  25. Lazear, Edward P & Michael, Robert T, 1980. "Real Income Equivalence among One-Earner and Two-Earner Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 203-08, May.
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