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On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers

  • Coles, Melvyn

    ()

    (University of Essex)

  • Francesconi, Marco

    ()

    (University of Essex)

Toyboy marriages (where the female partner is at least 5 years older than her male partner) have grown threefold since the 1970s in the United States and Britain. This paper examines this phenomenon using an equilibrium search framework in which becoming successful in the labour market takes time and fitness decays with age. Our framework hinges on contract incompleteness in the marriage market and the assumption that the marginal gain to marrying someone rich is greatest for someone poor. With this structure we can explain why successful (older) types might marry fitter (younger) and less successful types. We show that toyboy marriages arise in equilibrium only when men and women have comparable labour market opportunities. U.S. and British data confirm this indicating that the probability that a woman is married to a toyboy increases by about 45 percent if, relative to her partner’s, she is more educated and in a better paid job.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2612.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: International Economic Review, 2011, 52 (3), 825-853
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2612
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  1. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2001. "Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis," Working Papers 36, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Aug 2001.
  2. 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.
  3. Hector Chade, . "Two-Sided Search and Perfect Segregation with Fixed Search Costs," Working Papers 2132861, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  4. Coen N. Teulings & Pieter A. Gautier, 2004. "The Right Man for the Job," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 553-580.
  5. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  6. Eeckhout, Jan, 1999. "Bilateral Search and Vertical Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 869-87, November.
  7. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, . ""Efficient Non-Contractible Investments''," CARESS Working Papres 98-13, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  8. Bloch, Francis & Ryder, Harl, 2000. "Two-Sided Search, Marriages, and Matchmakers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(1), pages 93-115, February.
  9. Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Differential Fecundity, Markets, and Gender Roles," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(2), pages 334-354, April.
  10. 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.
  11. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  12. John Ermisch & Marco Francesconi, 2000. "Cohabitation in Great Britain: not for long, but here to stay," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 163(2), pages 153-171.
  13. Bergstrom, T. & Bagnoli, M., 1990. "Courtship as a Waiting Game," Papers 90-12, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  14. 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.
  15. A. L. Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2005. "Education, Matching and the Allocative Value of Romance," Working Papers 205, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  16. Adrian Masters, 2008. "Marriage, Commitment and Divorce in a Matching Model with Differential Aging," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 614-628, July.
  17. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  18. Gautier, Pieter A & Svarer, Michael & Teulings, Coen N, 2005. "Marriage and the City," CEPR Discussion Papers 4939, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Alp Atakan, 2005. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," 2005 Meeting Papers 218, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  20. Cole, Harold L. & Mailath, George J. & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2001. "Efficient Non-Contractible Investments in Large Economies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 333-373, December.
  21. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1993. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 988-1010, December.
  22. Claudia Goldin, 2006. "The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women's Employment, Education, and Family," NBER Working Papers 11953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Jan Eeckhout, 2006. "Minorities and Endogenous Segregation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 31-53.
  24. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Yoram Weiss, 2006. "Divorce, Remarriage, and Welfare: A General Equilibrium Approach," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 415-426, 04-05.
  25. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  26. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 2001. "Efficiency in Marriage," NBER Working Papers 8642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
  28. Eugenio Giolito, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," Labor and Demography 0402007, EconWPA.
  29. Burdett Kenneth & Imai Ryoichi & Wright Randall, 2004. "Unstable Relationships," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-44, January.
  30. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Employment Fluctuations with Equilibrium Wage Stickiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 50-65, March.
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