On the Emergence of Toyboys: The Timing of Marriage with Aging and Uncertain Careers

29 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2011

See all articles by Melvyn G. Coles

Melvyn G. Coles

University of Essex - Department of Economics; Autonomous University of Barcelona; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Marco Francesconi

University of Essex; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: August 2011

Abstract

We explore how gender bias in career opportunities affects matching in a marriage market with search frictions and where an individual’s fitness decays with age. We document a “being left on the shelf” effect where young singles, who find the marriage market rapidly thins with age, rush into early partnership. Singles with stronger career opportunities, however, have a greater option value to defer marriage. More equal career opportunities for women (captured by greater schooling and better occupations) potentially explain the recent emergence of toyboy unions, in which the woman is at least 5 years older than her partner.

Suggested Citation

Coles, Melvyn G. and Francesconi, Marco, On the Emergence of Toyboys: The Timing of Marriage with Aging and Uncertain Careers (August 2011). International Economic Review, Vol. 52, Issue 3, pp. 825-853, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1919425 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2011.00651.x

Melvyn G. Coles (Contact Author)

University of Essex - Department of Economics ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
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+44 1206 873333 (Phone)
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Autonomous University of Barcelona

Plaça Cívica
Cerdañola del Valles
Barcelona, Barcelona 08193
SPAIN

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Marco Francesconi

University of Essex ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+44 1206 873 534 (Phone)
+44 1206 873 151 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

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