The Marital Satisfaction of Differently-Aged Couples

45 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2017

See all articles by Wang-Sheng Lee

Wang-Sheng Lee

Deakin University

Terra McKinnish

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Economics

Abstract

We investigate how the marital age gap affects the evolution of marital satisfaction over the duration of marriage using household panel data from Australia. We find that men tend to be more satisfied with younger wives and less satisfied with older wives. Interestingly, women likewise tend to be more satisfied with younger husbands and less satisfied with older husbands. Marital satisfaction declines with marital duration for both men and women in differently-aged couples relative to those in similarly-aged couples. These relative declines erase the initial higher levels of marital satisfaction experienced by men married to younger wives and women married to younger husbands within 6 to 10 years of marriage. A possible mechanism is that differently-aged couples are less resilient to negative shocks compared to similarly-aged couples, which we find some supportive evidence for.

Keywords: assortative matching, marital age gap, marital duration, marital satisfaction

JEL Classification: D1, J12

Suggested Citation

Lee, Wang-Sheng and McKinnish, Terra, The Marital Satisfaction of Differently-Aged Couples. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10863. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2998972

Wang-Sheng Lee (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

Burwood, Victoria 3215
Australia
+61392446669 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.deakin.edu.au/buslaw/aef/staff/profiles/lee.php

Terra McKinnish

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

Campus Box 256
Boulder, CO 80309-0256
United States

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