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A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity

  • Giolito, Eugenio P.


    (Universidad Alberto Hurtado)

It is commonly observed that over time and across societies, women tend to marry older men. The traditional explanation for this phenomenon is that wages increase with age and hence older men are more attractive in the marriage market. This explanation, however, involves an implicit assumption about female specialization in home production - an assumption that does not completely hold, especially in modern times. This paper shows that a marriage market equilibrium where women marry earlier in life than men can be achieved without making any assumptions about the wage process or gender roles. The only driving force in this model is the asymmetry in fecundity horizons between men and women. When the model is calibrated with Census Data, the average age at first marriage and the pattern of the sex ratio of single men to single women over different age groups mimics the patterns observed in developed countries during the last decade (e.g. France, the U.S. and Sweden).

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1082.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1082
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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. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  3. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1993. "Transfers among Divorced Couples: Evidence and Interpretation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 629-79, October.
  4. Bergstrom, T & Schoeni, R-F, 1996. "Income Prospects and Age-at-Marriage," Papers 96-18, RAND - Reprint Series.
  5. Ken Burdett & Melvyn G. Coles, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-168.
  6. Shelly Lundberg & Elaina Rose, 1998. "The Determinants of Specialization Within Marriage," Working Papers 0048, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  7. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  8. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  9. Michael J. Brien, 1997. "Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(4), pages 741-778.
  10. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 1999. "More on marriage, fertility, and the distribution of income," Working Paper 9904, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  11. Steven Stern & Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard, 1999. "Cohabitation, Marriage, and Divorce in a Model of Match Quality," Virginia Economics Online Papers 322, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  12. Tracy J. Cornelius, 2003. "A Search Model of Marriage and Divorce," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 135-155, January.
  13. Robert G. Wood, 1995. "Marriage Rates and Marriageable Men: A Test of the Wilson Hypothesis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 163-193.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:141-68 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. 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.
  16. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
  17. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
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