Beauty vs. Earnings: Gender Differences in Earnings and Priorities Over Spousal Characteristics in a Matching Model

35 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2008

See all articles by David Bjerk

David Bjerk

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: October 20, 2008

Abstract

I develop a model of marriage matching where males and females care about two distinct characteristics of their spouse - beauty and earnings. Each individual's beauty is exogenous, but earnings depend on human capital investments made by each individual prior to entering the marriage market. I show that even if males and females constitute ex-ante identical populations, with identical underlying preferences and equal access to human capital investment and labor market opportunities, there can still exist an equilibrium where, on average, one gender invests more in human capital than the other, and moreover, members of one gender are more likely to prioritize beauty over earnings in a spouse, while members of the other gender are more likely to prioritize a potential spouse's earnings over beauty.

Keywords: Matching, Marriage, Gender Earnings Inequality

JEL Classification: J12, J16, J24, D1

Suggested Citation

Bjerk, David, Beauty vs. Earnings: Gender Differences in Earnings and Priorities Over Spousal Characteristics in a Matching Model (October 20, 2008). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Forthcoming; Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper No. 2008-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1288846

David Bjerk (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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