Desperation or Desire? The Role of Risk Aversion in Marriage

35 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2007

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The effect of an individual's risk aversion, measured via a series of hypothetical gambles over income, on time to marriage is examined using survival analysis. A search model predicts that, the more risk averse the individual, the shorter the time to first marriage. The estimates support the theory, indicating that risk aversion significantly affects time to marriage, with more risk averse respondents marrying sooner than their more risk loving counterparts. Within-family analyses using sibling data reveal a similar pattern. In addition, the effect of risk aversion on time to marriage is larger in magnitude and more statistically significant for men.

Keywords: marriage, gender, risk aversion, risk preferences, duration analysis, survival analysis

JEL Classification: J00, J1, J10, J12, J16

Suggested Citation

Spivey, Christy, Desperation or Desire? The Role of Risk Aversion in Marriage. Available at SSRN: or

Christy Spivey (Contact Author)

SIUE ( email )

Edwardsville, IL 62026-1102
United States

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