June 15, 2017
Why Wait? A Century of Education, Marriage Timing and Gender Roles
Murat Iyigun, University of Colorado, Boulder
We document that, over the 20th century, age at first marriage followed a U-shaped pattern, while the gender education gap tracked an inverted-U path in the United States. To explain this, we propose a multi-period frictionless matching model where education and marriage decisions are endogenous. This simple model, combined with fixed marriage setup costs, can replicate the aforementioned stylized facts and quantitatively explain most of the rise and fall in the spousal education gap while exaggerating the fall and rise in age at first marriage. It is also consistent with our empirical result that exogenous delays in marriage age caused by minimum age laws decreased the educational difference between spouses while increasing their educational attainment.
(Joint paper with Jeanne Lafortune)