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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 N. Seitz, 2002. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Working Papers 1009, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Pierre-André Chiappori & Murat Iyigun & Yoram Weiss, 2009. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1689-1713, December.
  4. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  5. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
  6. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. Greenwood, J. & Guner, N. & Knkwles, J., 1999. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," Papers 9904, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  10. Giolito, Eugenio P., 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," IZA Discussion Papers 1082, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  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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