Do Married Men Who Live with their Wives Have Higher Wages Than Married Men Who Don’t? Further Evidence Regarding the Causal Mechanisms Explaining Men’s Wage Premium to Marriage

Gretchen Livingston, Princeton University

That married men earn more than single men is well established in the literature. What remains unclear, though, is the cause of this wage gap. The literature that does exist typically finds that selectivity into marriage only explains a small part of the wage gap, but it has been extremely difficult for researchers to unpack what it is about marriage that seems to be ‘creating’ higher-earning men. I take advantage of variations in coresidence among Mexican immigrant men living in the U.S., as well as fixed effects techniques, to evaluate the validity of the primary hypotheses regarding men’s wage premium. Preliminary results regarding which causal mechanism explains the wage premium associated with marriage are not wholly conclusive; though household specialization may play some role, results suggest that employer discrimination or a ‘settling effect’ may also be in operation. Additional analyses to better pinpoint the underlying mechanism are planned.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design