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Gender Differences and the Timing of first Marriages

In first marriages in the United States grooms are on average 1.7 years older than their brides, the life-cycle profile of this age gap is increasing both for the grooms and for the brides, and it is steeper for the grooms. To address these issues we construct a general equilibrium model economy in which people search for spouses, and they marry because they value bearing children, sharing their income with their spouses, and companionship. A distinguishing feature of our model economy is that the age distributions of singles are endogenous. We calibrate our model economy so that it replicates some of the aggregate features of the timing of first marriages in the United States. And we find that gender differences in fecundity are essential to account for the average age gap observed in first marriages. We also find that distributions of single people that are decreasing in age and some random matching are sufficient to account for the positive slopes of the life-cycle profiles of the age gaps at first marriage; and that gender differences in fecundity account for these profiles being steeper for the grooms.

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Paper provided by Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines in its series ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers with number inv274.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv274
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  1. Shannon Seitz, 2009. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 385-437, 07.
  2. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 1999. "More on marriage, fertility, and the distribution of income," Working Paper 9904, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, . "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers _030, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:2:p:277-317 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 2002. "Differential Fecundity and Gender-Biased Parental Investments in Health," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 999-1024, October.
  6. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 2007. "Class, Gender and Marriage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 549-575, October.
  7. Eugenio P. Giolito, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," 2010 Meeting Papers 1178, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. S. Rao Aiyagari & Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2000. "On the State of the Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 213-244, April.
  9. Eugenio Giolito, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," Labor and Demography 0402007, EconWPA.
  10. Aloysius Siow, 1996. "Differential Fecundity, Markets and Gender Roles," Working Papers siow-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  11. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 2454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2002. "Why Do Women Wait? Matching, Wage Inequality, and the Incentives for Fertility Delay," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 815-855, October.
  13. Coles, Melvyn & Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 2612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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