Is the Male Marriage Premium Due to Selection?: The Effect of Shotgun Weddings on the Return to Marriage
FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 97-5
Posted: 15 May 1998
Date Written: 1997
In standard cross-sectional wage regressions, married men appear to earn 10 to 20 percent more than comparable never-married men. One proposed explanation for this male marriage premium is that men may be selected into marriage on the basis of characteristics valued by employers as well as by spouses or because they earn high wages. This paper examines the selection hypothesis using a "natural experiment" that may be an exogenous cause of marriage for some men. We compare the estimated marriage premium between men whose first marriages are followed by a birth within seven months and other married men. Married men with a premarital conception generally have lower returns to marriage than other married men. Our results suggest that a substantial portion of the marriage premium is due to selection.
JEL Classification: J31, J12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation