By William Song and Theresa Tong
A substantial body of literature on the wage effects of marriage finds that married American men earn anywhere from 10% to 40% higher wages than unmarried men on average, while married American women earn up to 7% less than unmarried women, even after controlling for traits such as background, education, and number of children. Because this literature focuses heavily on men born in a single time period, we study both men and women in two different generational cohorts of Americans (Baby Boomers and Millennials) from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth to examine how the wage effects of marriage differ between genders and across time. Using a fixed effects approach, we find that Millennial women—but not Baby Boomer women—experience an increase in wages after marriage, and we replicate the finding from the literature that men experience an increase in wages after marriage as well. However, after controlling for wage trajectory-based selection into marriage by using a modified fixed effects approach that allows wage trajectories to vary by individual, we find that the wage effects of marriage are no longer statistically significant for any group in our data, suggesting that the wage differences between married and unmarried individuals found in previous studies are primarily a result of selection.
Advisors: Professor Marjorie McElroy, Professor Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: C33; D13; J12; J13; J22; J30
By Meredith Parenti
This paper offers an empirical analysis of the effects of division of employment between parent figures on future outcomes of children. Using propensity score matching, this study extends upon previous research to offer an understanding of the joint role played by maternal employment and that of a present or non-present husband. Data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Young Adults and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 are used to create and examine a comprehensive set of respondents’ backgrounds and labor outcomes. Relative to children from two parent homes with only working fathers, children from two parent homes with part-time working mothers and non-working fathers appear to have less positive labor outcomes. Conversely, children with full-time working mothers without spouses in the home have more positive labor outcomes. These findings demonstrate the mediation of each parent figure on the role of the other in determining outcomes and suggest maternal work is beneficial to children, or plays no significant role, unless a mother has to support not only her children, but also her husband through her employment.
Advisors: V. Joseph Hotz and Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: J01, J12, J22
By Jennifer Garand
This paper aims to investigate the relationship between peoples’ decisions to marry or cohabit and their economic circumstances – both personal, as measured by their employment status, and peripheral, as measured by the unemployment rate in their local county. This paper will look at the role economic factors, as well as demographic and personal factors, play in the decision of whether or not to marry, cohabit, or stay single.
Advisor: Marjorie McElroy, Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: D1, J12, J16 |
By Shafiq Haris, Alexander Prezioso, Michael Temple, Logan Turner, Kevin Zipf, Elizabeth Di Giulio, and Joseph Ueland
This paper analyzes the impact of exogenous shifts in the labor market on the marriage market. The relationship between these two markets is complicated by their reverse causality. That is to say, labor market decisions play into marriage market decisions, and vice versa. In order to mitigate this simultaneous determination, this paper adopts and furthers a methodology utilized by Autor, Dorn and Hansen (2015). Henceforth referred to as ADH, the authors analyze the effects of trade on local labor markets between 1980 and 2007. All 722 commuting zones in the continental United States were evaluated with respect to their level of exposure to increasing competition from Chinese imports, and the share of jobs within the commuting zone considered “routine,” and thus susceptible to computerization and/or mechanization. The authors analyze the impact of these independent variables on labor force participation. This paper takes Autor, et al’s analysis one step further by using the routinization and trade variables as instruments through which we can observe the exogenous impact of the labor market on marital status shares. This paper progresses through two specifications before ultimately utilizing a Two–Stage Least Squares analysis with Autor et al’s instruments to isolate the impact of decadal changes in the labor market on decadal changes in male and female marital status shares. Analysis is performed on different age groups, as both the marriage and labor market are different for people of different ages. The first specification applies Autor, et. al’s right–hand side with marital status shares as dependent variables. The second specification adds labor market ratios, which relate male and female labor market status. The previously mentioned final specification offers easily interpreted results and is the most encompassing model. Overall, we find that the labor market affects the marriage market much like the current literature would suggest. For example, as male employment increases, the share of females never married decreases and the share of females married increases. This relationship is consistent with existing marriage market theory. However, the results suggest that the literature does not hold in the oldest age group in the data, as power dynamics in the marriage market shift. Our methodology and findings are unique, as we explore this field through a new lens. Future research can expand upon this by incorporating a dataset with information regarding cohabitation habits and consistent longitudinal variable measurements for controls.
Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: J1, J12, J21 | Tagged: Employment, Marriage
The Nurture Effect: Like Father, Like Son. What about for an Adopted Child? A Study of Korean-American Adoptees on the Impact of Family Environment and Genes
By Suanna Seung-yun Oh
I investigate the influences of family environment and genes on children’s educational outcomes by working with data on Korean American adoptees and their non-adoptive siblings. I make use of the natural experiment setting where children were quasi-randomly assigned to families. From Sacerdote’s discussion of the three different approaches of analyzing the data, I derive a single-equation model that encompasses the three approaches as a few of its specific cases. The first part of my analysis identifies the causal effect of being assigned to a certain family environment. The second part of my analysis looks into causes of the differences between the educational attainment of adoptees and biological children, adding to the economists’ discussion on the relative importance of nature and nurture.
Advisor: Marjorie McElroy | JEL Codes: J, J12,J13, J24 | Tagged: