Marriages and wages

Publication type

Conference Paper


BHPS-2005 Conference: the 2005 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 30 June -2 July 2005, Colchester, UK


Publication date

June 1, 2005


This work investigates the commonly observed relationship between marriage and wages
among men in Britain using panel data covering the 1990s. We explicitly test several
hypotheses developed in the literature to explain this relationship, including the household
division of labour and specialisation, differential rates of human capital formation, employer
favouritism, and self-selection. After accounting for individual-specific time-invariant
effects, and a wide range of individual, household, job and employer related characteristics,
we find a small but statistically significant premium remains that can be attributed to
productivity differences. Our estimates provide evidence for the existence of a large selection
effect into marriage based on both observable and unobservable characteristics that are
positively correlated with wages (consistent with employers using marriage as a positive
signal), and also evidence in support of the specialisation hypothesis.






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