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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence W. Kenny, 1978. "Male Wage Rates and Marital Status," NBER Working Papers 0271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0271

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    1. 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 1141-1187, December.
    2. Parsons, Donald O, 1977. "Health, Family Structure, and Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 703-712, September.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    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 451-470, June.
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