Labor-Market and Marriage-Market Outcomes by Age at Marriage: Theory and Evidence

47 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2014 Last revised: 22 Aug 2016

Hanzhe Zhang

Michigan State University

Date Written: August 19, 2016

Abstract

When to marry is by choice and depends on labor-market and marriage-market conditions. In this paper, I first document labor-market and marriage-market outcomes by age at marriage for birth cohorts between 1900 and 1979 in the United States. These relationships are gender-specific, non-monotonic and time-varying. Previous theories of Becker (1973 JPE, 1974 JPE) and Bergstrom and Bagnoli (1993 JPE) cannot explain these relationships or their changes over time. I build an equilibrium investments-and-marriage model to explain these relationships and changes. Two key drivers of the results are marriage-delaying human capital investments and differential fecundity. Finally, I use a numerical example to demonstrate the model's analytical tractability and its additional predictions on matching by ages.

Keywords: age at marriage, non-assortative matching, differential fecundity, stochastic human capital investments

JEL Classification: J11, C78, D13

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Hanzhe, Labor-Market and Marriage-Market Outcomes by Age at Marriage: Theory and Evidence (August 19, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2401468 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2401468

Hanzhe Zhang (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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