Will you marry me? A perspective on the gender gap

Ronel Elul, José Silva-Reus, Oscar Volij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper develops a general equilibrium model of the gender wage gap. The difference in earnings is a consequence of a demographic regularity-that men tend to marry younger women-which may limit women's labor mobility and, hence, their average earnings. However, couples are always free not to marry, and do so only if it is in each's self-interest. The intrafamily allocation of resources is determined via non-cooperative bargaining; this leads to interesting interactions between the game played by husband and wife on the one hand, and the competitive environment in which they are immersed on the other. The predictions resulting from this model's interplay between locational choice and family bargaining are consistent with the observation that the increasing stress put by women on their careers over the past 30 years has been contemporaneous with reductions in both marriage rates and the gender gap. The model provides insight into the consequences of this for the relative welfare of men and women, as well as exploring its wider economic implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-572
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Family bargaining
  • Gender gap
  • Household models
  • OLG models

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