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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. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1991. "Courtship as a waiting game," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 386, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," 2006 Meeting Papers 43, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 5224, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Aloysius Siow, 1996. "Differential Fecundity, Markets and Gender Roles," Working Papers siow-96-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," CARESS Working Papres 99-05, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  6. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," IZA Discussion Papers 1082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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).
  12. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L & Katz, Michael L, 1996. "An Analysis of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 277-317, May.
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