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A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity

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  • Eugenio Giolito

    (University of Maryland)

Abstract

It is commonly observed that across societies and time, women tend to marry older men. The traditional explanation for this phenomenon is that wages increase with age and hence older men are more attractive in the marriage market. The explanation holds even where differences in fertility between men and women are taken in account. This explanation, however, involves an implicit assumption about female specialization in home production - an assumption that does not generally hold, especially in modern times. This paper shows that a marriage market equilibrium where women marry earlier in life than men can be achieved without making any assumptions about the wage process or gender roles. The only driving force in this two sided search model is the asymmetry in fertility horizons between men and women. When the model is calibrated with Census Data, the average age at first marriage and the pattern of the sex ratio of single men to single women over different age groups mimics the patterns observed in developed countries during the last decade (e.g. France, the U.S. and Sweden). However, the fit is less accurate for developing countries and for earlier decades in developed countries. This result may indicate a more important role of social norms and wages in the determination of marriage pattern in those cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Eugenio Giolito, 2004. "A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity," Labor and Demography 0402007, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0402007
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on WinXP; pages: 55
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter A. Diamond, Dale T. Mortensen, Christopher A. Pissarides
      by jccavalcanti in JCC.com on 2010-11-03 21:45:18

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    Cited by:

    1. Gillian Hamilton & Aloysius Siow, 2007. "Class, Gender and Marriage," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 549-575, October.
    2. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
    3. Díaz-Giménez, Javier & Giolito, Eugenio P., 2008. "Gender Differences and the Timing of First Marriages," IZA Discussion Papers 3539, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Polachek, Solomon & Zhang, Xu & Zhou, Xing, 2014. "A Biological Basis for the Gender Wage Gap: Fecundity and Age and Educational Hypogamy," IZA Discussion Papers 8570, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Dessy, Sylvain & Djebbari, Habiba, 2005. "Career Choice, Marriage-Timing, and the Attraction of Unequals," IZA Discussion Papers 1561, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Coles, Melvyn & Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 2612, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Aloysius Siow & Eugene Choo, 2007. "Lifecycle marriage matching: Theory and Evidence," 2007 Meeting Papers 550, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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