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Are there Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?

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  • Maristella Botticini
  • Aloysius Siow

Abstract

The returns to scale of marriage markets have important behavioral and welfare consequences. It is quantitatively difficult to estimate the returns to scale because, due to endogenous migration, the marriage market size is endogenous. This paper addresses the endogeneity in two ways. First, it estimates the degree of returns to scale in U.S. marriage markets using the 2000 census. Given that in the United States people move to cities to find marriage partners and, therefore, the size of the marriage market is endogenous, we instrument the current size of a cohort in the marriage market with the size of that cohort twenty years earlier. Second, it estimates city scale effects in two societies---early Renaissance Tuscany and pre-reform China---where there was little internal mobility, and thus, the size of the marriage market can be considered exogenous. The main finding is that in all three societies, there is no evidence of increasing returns to scale in marriage markets, whereas the hypothesis of constant returns to scale cannot be rejected. This is true when looking at marriage odds ratios, total gains to marriage, and the quality of marital match. Given the different characteristics of the three societies in terms of population size, time period, economic structure, and social norms characterizing the marriage market, the similarity and precision of the estimates for returns to scale parameters is remarkable.

Suggested Citation

  • Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2008. "Are there Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?," Working Papers tecipa-333, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-333
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-333.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Pieter A. Gautier & Michael Svarer & Coenraad N. Teulings, 2005. "Marriage and the City," CESifo Working Paper Series 1422, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2003. "Why Dowries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1385-1398, September.
    3. Gould, Eric D. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2003. "Waiting for Mr. Right: rising inequality and declining marriage rates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 257-281, March.
    4. Janice Compton & Robert A. Pollak, 2007. "Why Are Power Couples Increasingly Concentrated in Large Metropolitan Areas?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 475-512.
    5. 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.
    6. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940–1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1287-1315.
    7. Lena Edlund, 2005. "Sex and the City," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(1), pages 25-44, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié & Yoram Weiss, 2017. "Partner Choice, Investment in Children, and the Marital College Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2109-2167, August.
    2. Bernard Salanié & Alfred Galichon, 2012. "Cupid's Invisible Hand: Social Surplus and Identification in Matching Models," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5rkqqmvrn4t, Sciences Po.
    3. Kotyrlo, Elena, 2016. "Space-time dynamics of fertility and commuting," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 41, pages 78-95.
    4. Aloysius Siow, 2015. "Testing Becker's Theory of Positive Assortative Matching," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 409-441.
    5. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Salanié, Bernard & Weiss, Yoram, 2015. "Partner Choice and the Marital College Premium: Analyzing Marital Patterns Over Several Decades," CEPR Discussion Papers 10403, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Leonardo Felli & Leeat Yariv & Allan Collard-Wexler & Mariagiovanna Baccara, 2010. "Gender and Racial Biases: Evidence from Child Adoption," 2010 Meeting Papers 273, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2016. "The Econometrics of Matching Models," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 832-861, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Increasing returns; marriage market; United States; China; Renaissance Tuscany;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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