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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, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0402007
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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

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Díaz-Giménez, Javier & Giolito, Eugenio, 2008. "Gender Differences and the Timing of First Marriages," IZA Discussion Papers 3539, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Sylvain Dessy & Habiba Djebbari, 2005. "Career Choice, Marriage-Timing, and the Attraction of Unequals," Cahiers de recherche 0507, CIRPEE.
    4. Giolito Eugenio, 2010. "On Population Structure and Marriage Dynamics," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-54, November.
    5. Coles, Melvyn & Francesconi, Marco, 2007. "On the Emergence of Toyboys: Equilibrium Matching with Ageing and Uncertain Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 2612, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. 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.
    7. Aloysius Siow & Eugene Choo, 2007. "Lifecycle marriage matching: Theory and Evidence," 2007 Meeting Papers 550, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    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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