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Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles

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  • Murat Iyigun
  • Jeanne Lafortune

Abstract

We document that, over the 20th century, age at first marriage followed a U-shaped pattern, while the gender education gap tracked an inverted-U path in the United States. To explain this, we propose a multi-period frictionless matching model where educational and marriage decisions are endogenous. Two key assumptions are made: marriage requires a fixed cost and married couples cannot study simultaneously. This simple model can replicate the aforementioned stylized facts and is consistent with our empirical result that exogenous delays in marriage age caused by minimum age laws decreased the educational difference within a couple while increasing their educational attainment.

Suggested Citation

  • Murat Iyigun & Jeanne Lafortune, 2016. "Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles," Working Papers ClioLab 23, EH Clio Lab. Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
  • Handle: RePEc:ioe:clabwp:23
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    File URL: http://cliolab.economia.uc.cl/docs/wp/wp_23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alessio MORO & Solmaz MOSLEHI & Satoshi TANAKA, 2017. "Marriage and Economic Development in the Twentieth Century," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 379-420, December.
    2. Jelnov, Pavel, 2019. "The Marriage Age U-Shape," IZA Discussion Papers 12356, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Edlund, Lena & Machado, Cecilia, 2011. "Pill Power: The Prequel," IZA Discussion Papers 5468, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Making Yourself Attractive: Pre-marital Investments and the Returns to Education in the Marriage Market," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 151-178, April.
    5. Valerie Oppenheimer & Matthijs Kalmijn & Nelson Lim, 1997. "Men’s career development and marriage timing during a period of rising inequality," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(3), pages 311-330, August.
    6. Charles H. Mullin & Ping Wang, 2002. "The Timing of Childbearing among Heterogeneous Women in Dynamic General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 9231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Daniel Klepinger & Shelly Lundberg & Robert Plotnick, 1999. "How Does Adolescent Fertility Affect the Human Capital and Wages of Young Women?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 421-448.
    8. Francisco Parro, 2012. "International Evidence on the Gender Gap in Education over the Past Six Decades: A Puzzle and an Answer to It," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 150-185.
    9. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    10. Javier Díaz‐Giménez & Eugenio Giolito, 2013. "Accounting For The Timing Of First Marriage," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 135-158, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jelnov, Pavel, 2019. "The Marriage Age U-Shape," IZA Discussion Papers 12356, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. repec:bla:obuest:v:80:y:2018:i:6:p:1089-1116 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Thomas Baudin & David de la Croix & Paula E. Gobbi, 2019. "Childlessness and Economic Development: A Survey," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2019001, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    4. d'Albis, Hippolyte & Greulich, Angela & Ponthiere, Gregory, 2018. "Development, fertility and childbearing age: A Unified Growth Theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 177(C), pages 461-494.
    5. Pavel Jelnov, 2018. "A New Estimator of Search Duration and Its Application to the Marriage Market," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1089-1116, December.
    6. Junhong Chu & Haoming Liu & I. P. L. Png, 2018. "Nonlabor Income and Age at Marriage: Evidence From China’s Heating Policy," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 55(6), pages 2345-2370, December.
    7. Zhang, Hanzhe, 2018. "Human Capital Investments, Differential Fecundity, and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2018-7, Michigan State University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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