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Will You Marry Me? A Perspective on the Gender Gap

Author

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  • Volij, Oscar
  • Elul, Ronel
  • Silva-Reus, Jose Angel

Abstract

This paper develops a general equilibrium model of the gender wage gap. The difference in earnings is a consequence of a demographic regularity--that men tend to marry younger women--which may limit women's labor mobility and, hence, their average earnings. However, couples are always free not to marry, and do so only if it is in each's self-interest. The intrafamily allocation of resources is determined via non-cooperative bargaining; this leads to interesting interactions between the game played by husband and wife on the one hand, and the competitive environment in which they are immersed on the other. The predictions resulting from this model's interplay between locational choice and family bargaining are consistent with the observation that the increasing stress put by women on their careers over the past 30 years has been contemporaneous with reductions in both marriage rates and the gender gap. The model provides insight into the consequences of this for the relative welfare of men and women, as well as exploring its wider economic implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Volij, Oscar & Elul, Ronel & Silva-Reus, Jose Angel, 2002. "Will You Marry Me? A Perspective on the Gender Gap," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10132, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:10132
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Elisabeth Hermann Frederiksen, 2006. "An Equilibrium Analysis of the Gender Wage Gap," EPRU Working Paper Series 06-08, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    2. Miriam Beblo & Julio Robledo, 2008. "The wage gap and the leisure gap for double-earner couples," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(2), pages 281-304, April.
    3. Bowles, Hannah Riley & McGinn, Kathleen L., 2007. "Untapped Potential in the Study of Negotiation and Gender Inequality in Organizations," Working Paper Series rwp07-062, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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