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Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark

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Listed:
  • Datta Gupta, Nabanita

    () (Aarhus University)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Aarhus University)

  • Stratton, Leslie S.

    () (Virginia Commonwealth University)

Abstract

The word for 'married' in Danish is the same as the word for 'poison'. The word for 'sweetheart' in Danish is the same as the word for 'tax'. In this paper we expand upon the literature documenting a significant marital wage premium for men in the United States to see if a similar differential exists for married men in Denmark - or if the homonyms have perhaps less of a double meaning. Unlike most other research in this area, our study is based on a large panel sample with complete relationship histories, consisting of about 35,000 young Danish men observed before and after their first marriage or cohabitation during the years 1984-2001. Since the majority of young Danes cohabit before they marry, if they ever marry, cohabitation is allowed for as a separate state. Pooled OLS estimates indicate a marital wage premium of 4-5%, which drops to 2% after controlling for selectivity. The cohabitation premium is found to be of the same size as the marital wage premium. Our results indicate that a part of the marriage or cohabitation premium is not due to marriage or cohabitation itself, but to fatherhood. When information on becoming a father and years spent in fatherhood is added to the empirical model, the results show that fathers receive a 'fatherhood' premium during their first few years as fathers and that the initial marital wage premium is reduced.

Suggested Citation

  • Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "Is Marriage Poisonous? Are Relationships Taxing? An Analysis of the Male Marital Wage Differential in Denmark," IZA Discussion Papers 1591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1591
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bruno Jeandidier & Helen Lim, 2015. "Is there justification for alimony payments? A survey of the empirical literature," Working Papers of BETA 2015-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    2. William M. Rodgers & Leslie S. Stratton, 2010. "Male Marital Wage Differentials: Training, Personal Characteristics, And Fixed Effects," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 722-742, July.
    3. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew & Hogsnes, Geir, 2006. "The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2053f73v, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    4. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verne, 2011. "The gender pay gap in top corporate jobs in Denmark: Glass ceilings, sticky floors or both?," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 32(2), pages 156-177, May.
    5. Maria Marshall & Anna Flaig, 2014. "Marriage, Children, and Self-Employment Earnings: An Analysis of Self-Employed Women in the US," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 313-322, September.
    6. Arif Mamun, 2012. "Cohabitation Premium in Men’s Earnings: Testing the Joint Human Capital Hypothesis," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 53-68, March.
    7. Kunze, Astrid, 2016. "The effect of children on earnings inequality among men," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145823, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Averett, Susan L. & Sikora, Asia & Argys, Laura M., 2008. "For better or worse: Relationship status and body mass index," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 330-349, December.
    9. Sean de Hoon & Renske Keizer & Pearl Dykstra, 2015. "The Male Marriage Wage Premium in Cross-National Perspective," LIS Working papers 642, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    10. repec:ilo:ilowps:487376 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kunze, Astrid, 2014. "Are All of the Good Men Fathers? The Effect of Having Children on Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 8113, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Nan Astone & Jacinda Dariotis & Freya Sonenstein & Joseph Pleck & Kathryn Hynes, 2010. "Men’s Work Efforts and the Transition to Fatherhood," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 3-13, March.
    13. Rodgers III, William M. & Stratton, Leslie S., 2005. "The Male Marital Wage Differential: Race, Training, and Fixed Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 1745, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Cornaglia, Francesca & Feldman, Naomi E., 2011. "Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball," IZA Discussion Papers 5695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Jennifer Kohn & Susan Averett, 2014. "Can’t We Just Live Together? New Evidence on the Effect of Relationship Status on Health," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 295-312, September.
    16. Trude Lappegård & Marit Rønsen, 2013. "Socioeconomic Differences in Multipartner Fertility Among Norwegian Men," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(3), pages 1135-1153, June.
    17. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew & Høgnes, Geir, 2012. "From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt60p7c2pg, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    18. Grimshaw, Damian. & Rubery, Jill., 2015. "The motherhood pay gap : a review of the issues, theory and international evidence," ILO Working Papers 994873763402676, International Labour Organization.
    19. Neher, Frank, 2011. "Markets wanted: Expectation overshooting in transition," Discussion Papers 2011/1, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    20. Petersen, Trond & Penner, Andrew M & Høgsnes, Geir, 2014. "From Motherhood Penalties to Husband Premia: The New Challenge for Gender Equality and Family Policy, Lessons from Norway," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2hk409sk, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    21. Frank Neher, 2013. "Markets wanted: expectation overshooting in transition economies," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 60(2), pages 187-219, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fatherhood; cohabitation; marriage premium;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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    1. Marriage gap in Wikipedia English ne '')
    2. فجوة الزواج in Wikipedia Arabic ne '')

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