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

Posted: 13 Jan 2004  

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

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Abstract

This paper demonstrates that women search longer for their first or second husband in cities with higher male wage inequality, and examines several alternative explanations. A causal link is established by controlling for city fixed effects and city-specific time trends, and by using inequality in the woman's state-of-birth as a proxy for local male inequality. Increasing inequality explains about 25% of the marriage rate decline over the last few decades, and this is not due to the endogenous moving or labor force decisions of women, nor to the marital decisions of men in reaction to changes in their own wages.

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. Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 53, pp. 257-281, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=485622

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)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
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)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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

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