Home » Year » 2010 » The Marital Wage Premium in the Twenty-First Century: Do married men earn a higher wage rate, and if so, why?

The Marital Wage Premium in the Twenty-First Century: Do married men earn a higher wage rate, and if so, why?

By Halley Hu

Married men have historically earned higher wages than single men. One of the most prominent explanations for this phenomenon is the theory of intra-household specialization. However, the marriage premium was found to be decreasing up until the early 90’s. In our paper, we have re-examined the wage premium using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979. Our analysis focuses on an early period (1990-1992) and a later period (2002-2006). Our results suggest that the marital wage premium has actually been increasing over time, but that specialization does not do an adequate job of explaining this result.

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Advisor: Marjorie McElroy

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