MARRIAGE MARKETS, DIFFERENTIAL FECUNDITY AND SEARCH
Giolito, Eugenio Pedro
Ausubel, Lawrence M
Sanders, Seth G
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It is commonly observed that over time and across societies, women tend to marry older men. The traditional explanation for this phenomenon is that wages increase with age and hence older men are more attractive in the marriage market. The model developed in Chapter 2 of this dissertation shows that a marriage market equilibrium where women marry earlier in life than men can be achieved without making any assumptions about the wage process or gender roles. The only driving force in this model is the asymmetry in fecundity horizons between men and women. When the model is calibrated with Census Data, the average age at first marriage and the pattern of the sex ratio of single men to single women over different age groups mimics the patterns observed in developed countries during the last decade. Chapter 3 extends the model in order to analyze assortative mating. In this case people belong to one of two groups and prefer to marry someone within the group. In this chapter it is shown that, given constant preferences, the limited horizon for searching for a mate affects the likelihood of intermarriage through ages, and the dynamic is different for men and women. Chapter 4 is an empirical study and uses 1970 and 1980 US Census data to study how the local sex ratios of single men to single women affect several aspects of the marriage market. Unlike earlier literature, this work also investigates other margins over which individuals can substitute in the marriage market -- specifically the choice of spouse's characteristics. These new results suggest that a shortage of single men leads women (and also men) to marry earlier. This suggests a more elastic response for women to a tight marriage market than the one for men. This is consistent with a marriage model where the search horizon for women is shorter than the one for men, as the one developed in the previous chapters. The results also suggest that an adverse change in the sex ratio can lead both men and women to marry outside of their own racial or educational group.