A model in which women search for husbands characterized by their wages predicts increasing within-group male wage inequality, raises the expected value of continued marital search, and so lowers female marriage propensities. Using 1970, 1980, and 1990 census data, the author test this hypothesis within geographically, racially, and educationally defined marriage markets. The estimates suggest rising male wage inequality accounted for 7% to 18% if the decline in the propensity to marry between 1970 and 1990 for white women and more-educated black women. Growing wage inequality appears to have had little effect on the marriage behavior of less-educated black women.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.