Male Wage Rates and Marital Status
46 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2004 Last revised: 11 Apr 2022
Date Written: July 1978
Numerous studies have found that married men earn consider-ably more than single men of the same education, experience, etc. There are several possible explanations of this phenomenon. Recent theoretical developments in the economics of marriage predict that males with higher wage rates have a greater gain from marriage and are therefore more likely to marry. Alternatively, one of the benefits of marriage is specialization in the labor force; married men spend more hours in the labor force than single males and thus have a greater incentive to invest in human capital. The empirical work in this paper suggests that a large fraction of the unexplained wage differential between married males and unmarried males may be attributable to the former explanation.
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