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Male Wage Rates and Marital Status

  • Lawrence W. Kenny

Numerous studies have found that married men earn consider-ably more than single men of the same education, experience, etc. There are several possible explanations of this phenomenon. Recent theoretical developments in the economics of marriage predict that males with higher wage rates have a greater gain from marriage and are therefore more likely to marry. Alternatively, one of the benefits of marriage is specialization in the labor force; married men spend more hours in the labor force than single males and thus have a greater incentive to invest in human capital. The empirical work in this paper suggests that a large fraction of the unexplained wage differential between married males and unmarried males may be attributable to the former explanation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0271.

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Date of creation: Jul 1978
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0271
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  1. Donald O. Parsons, 1976. "Health, Family Structure, and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 0132, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Becker, Gary S & Landes, Elisabeth M & Michael, Robert T, 1977. "An Economic Analysis of Marital Instability," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1141-87, December.
  4. Polachek, Solomon William, 1975. "Differences in Expected Post-school Investments as a Determinant of Market Wage Differentials," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 451-70, June.
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