Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The married male wage premium

Springs is in the air (at last, at least in Ann Arbor) and the blogosphere is aflutter with romantic thoughts about the married male wage premium.

It has been a while since I looked at this literature (since shortly before I got married, as it happens) but my conclusion at the time was that it is not all selection and that the underlying causal factors are two: First, as detailed with great (nay, perhaps even creepy) joy by the female authors of this book, wives cause husbands to do fewer earnings-reducing fun things like drinking heavily. Second, casual observation suggests that (many) single men spend a lot of time and effort looking for sex. Post-marriage, in most cases, that time and effort is devoted at least in part to work. 

I should note that my theory has a testable hypothesis, which is that married men who cheat a lot will have a lower, or perhaps zero, wage premium. It also has more straightforward implications that could be tested using time use data. If you write a paper on this, please thank me and send it along. I would like to read it!


Noah Smith said...

Not to be a troll, but what are the standard errors on that "casual observation", Dr. Smith? ;-)

Dimitriy said...

Having a ring might make cheating easier.