Saturday, December 22, 2012

Gender, Education and Marriage

There have been a few papers recently that discuss the impact of being highly educated or having high earnings on the marriage market.

Two papers focus on Asia and the role of highly educated women on the marriage market.

For evidence in Asia, and the role of highly educated women on the market for imported women see    Daiji Kawaguchi and Soohyung Lee "Brides for Sale: Cross-Border Marriages and Female Immigration"  The abstract reads: "Every year, a large number of women migrate as brides from developing countries to developed countries in East Asia. This phenomenon virtually did not exist in the early 1990s, but foreign brides currently comprise 4 to 35 percent of newlyweds in these developed Asian countries. This paper argues that two factors account for this rapid increase in “bride importation”: the rapid growth of women's educational attainment and a cultural norm that leads to low net surplus of marriage for educated women. We provide empirical evidence supporting our theoretical model and its implications, using datasets from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore."

This effect is the content of the Harvard student Jisoo Hwang's JM paper: "Housewife, "Gold Miss," and Equal: The Evolution of Educated Women's Role in Asia and the U.S. "

Abstract: The fraction of U.S. college graduate women who ever marry has increased relative to less educated women since the mid-1970s. In contrast, college graduate women in developed Asian countries have had decreased rates of marriage, so much so that the term “Gold Misses” has been coined to describe them. This paper argues that the interaction of rapid economic growth in Asia combined with the intergenerational transmission of gender attitudes causes the “Gold Miss” phenomenon. Economic growth has increased the supply of college graduate women, but men’s preference for their wives’ household services has diminished less rapidly and is slowed by women’s role in their mothers’ generation. Using a dynamic model, I show that a large positive wage shock produces a greater mismatch between educated women and men in the marriage market than would gradual wage growth. I test the implications of the model using three data sets: the Japanese General Social Survey, the American Time Use Survey, and the U.S. Census and American Community Survey. Using the Japanese data, I find a positive relationship between a mother’s education (and employment) and her son’s gender attitudes. In the U.S., time spent on household chores among Asian women is inversely related to the female labor force participation rate in husband’s country of origin. Lastly, college graduate Korean and Japanese women in the U.S. have greater options in the marriage market. They are more likely to marry Americans than Korean and Japanese men do, and this gender gap is larger among the foreign born than the U.S. born.

Two paper have tackled the impact of education, demanding jobs, income and marital spouses in the US.

The first is a paper by Harvard's JM candidate Stephanie Hurder "An Integrated Model of Occupation Choice, Spouse Choice, and Family Labor Supply"
Her Abstract reads: "I present an integrated model of occupation choice, spouse choice, family labor supply, and fertility that unifies an extensive empirical literature on career and family and provides predictions on the relationship among career, family, and marriage market outcomes. Two key assumptions of the model are that occupations differ both in wages and in an amenity termed flexibility, and that children require parental time that has no market substitute. Occupations with high costs of flexibility, modeled as a nonlinearity in wages, have a lower fraction of women, less positive assortative mating on earnings, and lower fertility among dual-career couples. Costly flexibility may induce high-earning couples to share home production, which rewards agents who are simultaneously high-earning and productive in child care. Empirical evidence is consistent with two main theoretical predictions: dual-career couples in more flexible occupations are more likely to have children, and professional women who achieve “career and family” in inflexible occupations are more likely to be married to lower-earning husbands or husbands less educated than themselves."
See also Al Roth's post about Stephanie

Last, but definitely not least, is a paper by Marianne Bertrand, Emir Kamenica, and Jessica Pan: "Gender identity and relative income within households" The abstract reads: "We examine causes and consequences of relative income within households. We establish that gender identity - in particular, an aversion to the wife earning more than the husband - impacts marriage formation, wife's labor force participation, wife's income conditional on working, satisfaction with the marriage and divorce, and the division of home production. The distribution of the share of the household income earned by the wife suggests that a potential couple is less willing to match if her income exceeds his. Within marriage markets, when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline. Within couples, if the wife's potential income (based on her demographics) is likely to exceed the husband's, the wife is less likely to be in the labor force and earns less than her potential if she does work. Couples where wife earns more than the husband are less satis ed with their marriage and are more likely to divorce. Finally, based on time use surveys, the gender gap in non-market work is larger if the wife earns more than the husband."
This paper received some attention for The Economist.

See also Marianne Bertrand's "Career, Family and the Well-Being of College-Educated Women"
and her work with Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz "Dynamics of the Gender Gap for Young Professionals in the Financial and Corporate Sectors" American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, July 2010, 2(3), pp. 228-255

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