Quality of Available Mates, Education and Intra-Household Bargaining Power

27 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2006

See all articles by Sonia Oreffice

Sonia Oreffice

University of Surrey

Brighita Negrusa

Clemson University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2006


This paper further explores the role of sex ratios on spouses' bargaining power, by focusing on educational attainment in order to capture the qualitative aspect of mate availability. Using Census and Current Population Survey data for U.S. metropolitan areas in year 2000, a quality sex ratio is constructed by education brackets to test the effect on the intra-household bargaining power of couples in the corresponding education bracket. We argue that a relative shortage of suitably educated women in the spouse's potential marriage market increases wives' bargaining power in the household while it lowers their husbands'. Additionally, we test the prediction that this bargaining power effect is greater as the assortative mating order by education increases. We consider a collective labor supply household model, in which each spouse's labor supply is negatively related to their level of bargaining power. We find that higher relative shortage of comparably educated women in the couple's metropolitan area reduces wives' labor supply and increases their husbands'. Also, the labor supply impact is stronger for couples in higher education groups. No such effects are found for unmarried individuals, which is consistent with bargaining theory.

Keywords: Education, Intra-Household Bargaining Power, Labor Supply

JEL Classification: D12, J12

Suggested Citation

Oreffice, Sonia and Negrusa, Brighita, Quality of Available Mates, Education and Intra-Household Bargaining Power (November 2006). FEEM Working Paper No. 133.06, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=944469 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.944469

Sonia Oreffice (Contact Author)

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/soniaoreffice/

Brighita Negrusa

Clemson University - Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

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