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Income prospects and age-at-marriage


This paper provides an empirical investigation of a theoretical model of the marriage market. In the model, women are valued more for their ability to bear children and men are valued more for their ability to make money. Men cannot reveal their labor market ability to potential spouses until they enter the labor force. At the same time, the relevant information for evaluating females as spouses is revealed at a younger age. The model predicts that the income of males will be positively associated with age-at-first-marriage. We find empirical support for the model. However, we also find the association between male earnings and age-at-first-marriage becomes negative for those who married after age 30, which was not predicted by the model. Consistent with the model, we do not find a strong relationship between earnings and age-at-first-marriage among females.

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Bergstrom, T., Schoeni, R.F. Income prospects and age-at-marriage. J Popul Econ 9, 115–130 (1996).

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JEL classification

  • J1
  • J12

Key words

  • Marriage market
  • age-at-marriage