Marriage Market Dynamics, Gender, and the Age Gap

72 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2019

Date Written: March 15, 2019


We present a general discrete choice framework for analyzing household formation and dissolution decisions in an equilibrium limited-commitment collective framework that allows for marriage both within and across birth cohorts. Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics and American Community Survey data, we apply our framework to empirically implement a time allocation model with labor market earnings risk, human capital accumulation, home production activities, fertility, and both within- and across-cohort marital matching. Our model replicates the bivariate marriage distribution by age, and explains some of the most salient life-cycle patterns of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and time allocation behavior. We use our estimated model to quantify the impact of the significant reduction in the gender wage gap since the 1980s on marriage outcomes.

Keywords: marriage, divorce, collective household models, life-cycle, search and matching, intrahousehold allocation, structural estimation

JEL Classification: C78, D13, D15, D83, J12, J16, J22, J24, J31

Suggested Citation

Shephard, Andrew, Marriage Market Dynamics, Gender, and the Age Gap (March 15, 2019). PIER Working Paper No. 19-003, Available at SSRN: or

Andrew Shephard (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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