Waiting for Mr. Right: Rising Inequality and Declining Marriage Rates

40 Pages Posted: 14 May 2002

See all articles by Eric D. Gould

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

M. Daniele Paserman

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 29, 2002

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that women search longer for their first or second husband in cities with higher male wage inequality, and analyzes several explanations for this result. A causal link is established by showing that the results are robust to the inclusion of city fixed-effects and city-specific time trends, and by using inequality in the woman's state of birth as a proxy for the local level of male inequality. Increasing male inequality explains about 30% of the marriage rate decline for women over the last few decades, and we show that this is not due to the effects of male inequality on female inequality, female labor supply, or decisions by women to re-locate, nor to the decisions of men in reaction to changes in their own wages. The evidence supports the idea that higher male inequality increases the option value for single women to search longer for a husband.

Keywords: Inequality, Marriage, Search

JEL Classification: J12, J31, D31

Suggested Citation

Gould, Eric D. and Paserman, M. Daniele, Waiting for Mr. Right: Rising Inequality and Declining Marriage Rates (April 29, 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=309939 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.309939

Eric D. Gould

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3247 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: https://sites.google.com/site/edgould

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

M. Daniele Paserman (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3365 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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