Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles

58 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016

See all articles by Murat Iyigun

Murat Iyigun

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics; Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jeanne Lafortune

University of Maryland - College Park

Abstract

We document that, over the 20th century, age at first marriage followed a U-shaped pattern, while the gender education gap tracked an inverted-U path in the United States. To explain this, we propose a multi-period frictionless matching model where educational and marriage decisions are endogenous. Two key assumptions are made: marriage requires a fixed cost and married couples cannot study simultaneously. This simple model can replicate the aforementioned stylized facts and is consistent with our empirical result that exogenous delays in marriage age caused by minimum age laws decreased the educational difference within a couple while increasing their educational attainment.

Keywords: timing, marriage, education

JEL Classification: J12, J11, N32

Suggested Citation

Iyigun, Murat F. and Lafortune, Jeanne, Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9671, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2725032

Murat F. Iyigun (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics ( email )

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303-492-6653 (Phone)
303-492-8622 (Fax)

Harvard University - Center for International Development (CID) ( email )

One Eliot Street Building
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

Jeanne Lafortune

University of Maryland - College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

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