Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 53–68

Cohabitation Premium in Men’s Earnings: Testing the Joint Human Capital Hypothesis

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10834-011-9252-5

Cite this article as:
Mamun, A. J Fam Econ Iss (2012) 33: 53. doi:10.1007/s10834-011-9252-5


This paper provides new evidence on the increase in wage earnings for men due to marriage and cohabitation (in the literature, commonly referred to as marital and cohabitation wage premiums for men). Using data for a sample of white men from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979, the paper shows that even after accounting for potential selection bias there is a cohabitation wage premium for men, albeit smaller than the marriage premium. Our analysis shows that a joint human capital hypothesis (a la Benham in J Polit Econ 82(2, Part 2):S57–71, 1974) with intra-household spillover effects of partner’s education can explain the existence of the wage premiums. Our estimates provide some empirical support for the joint human capital hypothesis.


CohabitationMarriageWage premium

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mathematica Policy Research, IncWashingtonUSA