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Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women

Author

Listed:
  • Bertrand, Marianne

    () (University of Chicago)

  • Cortes, Patricia

    () (Boston University)

  • Olivetti, Claudia

    () (Boston College)

  • Pan, Jessica

    () (National University of Singapore)

Abstract

In most of the developed world, skilled women marry at a lower rate than unskilled women. We document heterogeneity across countries in how the marriage gap for skilled women has evolved over time. As labor market opportunities for women have improved, the marriage gap has been growing in some countries but shrinking in others. We discuss the comparative statics of a theoretical model in which the (negative) social attitudes toward working women might contribute to the lower marriage rate of skilled women, and might also induce a non-monotonic relationship between their labor market prospects and their marriage outcomes. The model delivers predictions about how the marriage gap for skilled women should react to changes in their labor market opportunities across economies with more or less conservative attitudes toward working women. We verify the key predictions of this model in a panel of 26 developed countries, as well as in a panel of US states.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertrand, Marianne & Cortes, Patricia & Olivetti, Claudia & Pan, Jessica, 2018. "Social Norms, Labor Market Opportunities, and the Marriage Gap for Skilled Women," IZA Discussion Papers 11382, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11382
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Foster, Gigi & Stratton, Leslie S., 2018. "What Women Want (their men to do): Housework and satisfaction in Australian households," GLO Discussion Paper Series 225, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2017. "The Economic Consequences of Family Policies: Lessons from a Century of Legislation in High-Income Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 205-230, Winter.
    3. Cristina Borra & Martin Browning & Almudena Sevilla, 2017. "Marriage and Housework," Working Papers 2017-049, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Andreas Steinhauer, 2018. "Working Moms, Childlessness, and Female Identity," Sciences Po publications 79, Sciences Po.
    5. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:132-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Haaland, Venke Furre & Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil & Votruba, Mark, 2018. "The intergenerational transfer of the employment gender gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 132-146.
    7. Dahl, Gordon B. & Kotsadam, Andreas & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2018. "Does Integration Change Gender Attitudes? The Effect of Randomly Assigning Women to Traditionally Male Teams," IZA Discussion Papers 11323, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Karolina Goraus & Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde, 2017. "How (Not) to Make Women Work?," GRAPE Working Papers 1, GRAPE Group for Research in Applied Economics.
    9. Jean-Marie Baland & Roberta Ziparo, 2017. "Intra-household bargaining in poor countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 108, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Buckles, Kasey, 2017. "Maternal Socio-Economic Status and the Well-Being of the Next Generation(s)," IZA Discussion Papers 10714, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social norms; marriage gap; labor market opportunities;

    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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