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How Do Marital Status, Wage Rates, and Work Commitment Interact?

Author

Listed:
  • Ahituv, Avner

    () (University of Haifa)

  • Lerman, Robert I.

    () (Urban Institute)

Abstract

How marriage interacts with men's earnings is an important public policy issue, given debates over programs to directly encourage healthy marriages. This paper generates new findings about the earnings-marriage relationship by estimating the linkages between marriage, work commitment, and wage rates. Unlike other studies of the marital wage premium for men, we examine how marital status and marital transitions affect hours worked as well as wage rates, take account of the feedback effect on wage rates and earnings associated with marriage effects on hours worked, estimate marriage effects on black and low skill men, control for several dimensions of selection, and follow men from age 17-40. We find that marriage increases men's earnings by about 20 percent and also find a rise in wage rates and hours worked increases marriage. These findings suggest that both marriage-enhancing and earnings-enhancing policies can set off a virtuous circle, in which marriage and earnings reinforce each other over time. Unmarried men who appear unable to support a family because of low current earnings are likely to become more adequate breadwinners once they marry. Thus, if proposed programs are able to increase the utility from and appreciation of marriage, they are likely to generate earnings gains for men as an important side effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahituv, Avner & Lerman, Robert I., 2005. "How Do Marital Status, Wage Rates, and Work Commitment Interact?," IZA Discussion Papers 1688, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Cornwell, Christopher & Rupert, Peter, 1997. "Unobservable Individual Effects, Marriage and the Earnings of Young Men," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 285-294, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Papps, Kerry L., 2006. "The Effects of Divorce Risk on the Labour Supply of Married Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2395, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Avner Ahituv & Robert Lerman, 2011. "Job turnover, wage rates, and marital stability: How are they related?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 221-249, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    marriage; wage determinants; labor supply; marital dissolution;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy

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