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The Effects of Assortative Mating on Earnings: Human Capital Spillover or Specialization?

  • Åström, Johanna

    (The Swedish Retail Institute (HUI))

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    This paper studies how the spouse’s productivity in the labor market affects one’s individual earnings when married. Theoretically, the high productivity of a spouse in a marriage could affect the other spouse’s earnings in two ways: negatively through specialization and division of labor, or positively from human capital spillover. Using longitudinal microdata on individuals as both single and married people allows us to estimate the spouses’ productivity as a single persons and thereby avoid problems of endogeneity between the two spouses’ labor market performances. Productivity is approximated with residuals from estimates of pre-marriage earnings equations. Results indicate that there are negative effects of the spouse’s productivity on individual earnings for both males and females, and that this effect appears to be enhanced by the duration of the marriage. However, closer examination shows that only the youngest groups of males and females experience this negative effect. In addition, there is some evidence for a positive effect of the husband’s productivity on earnings in the case of older groups of females.

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    Paper provided by HUI Research in its series HUI Working Papers with number 34.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hhs:huiwps:0034
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