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A Marriage-Market Perspective of the College Gender Gap

20 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2016 Last revised: 10 Oct 2017

Hanzhe Zhang

Michigan State University

Date Written: October 9, 2017


This paper shows how gender-differential career cost can explain why in most of the developed countries women go to college at a higher rate than men but earn less on average. I assume men and women make costly college and career investments but women face an extra cost for career investment because such investment occurs during their fertile period. The extra career cost discourages women from investing in career but surprisingly encourages more women than men to go to college through a general-equilibrium marriage-market channel that results in an endogenously higher college marriage premium for women.

Keywords: college gender gap, gender pay gap, college marriage premium

JEL Classification: C78, D1, I2

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Hanzhe, A Marriage-Market Perspective of the College Gender Gap (October 9, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Hanzhe Zhang (Contact Author)

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

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