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

See all articles by Donna K. Ginther

Donna K. Ginther

University of Kansas - Department of Economics

Madeline Zavodny

University of North Florida; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Agnes Scott College

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

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

Ginther, Donna K. and Zavodny, Madeline, Is the Male Marriage Premium Due to Selection?: The Effect of Shotgun Weddings on the Return to Marriage (1997). FRB Atlanta Working Paper No. 97-5, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=68983

Donna K. Ginther

University of Kansas - Department of Economics ( email )

1300 Sunnyside Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045-7585
United States

Madeline Zavodny (Contact Author)

University of North Florida ( email )

4567 St. Johns Bluff Road, South
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Agnes Scott College ( email )

United States

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