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Publicado en: Documento de trabajo

Making Yourself Attractive: Pre-Marital Investments and the Returns to Education in the Marriage Market

Jeanne Lafortune.

Documento de Trabajo IE-PUC, N° 422, 2012.

Abstract: This paper explores how a rise in a gender’s scarcity may impact educational investments using exogenous variation in the marriage market of second generation Americans in early 20th century. Theoretically, one may expect this to occur through two potential channels: a change in matching possibilities or in post-match bargaining. Empirically, I find that worse marriage market conditions spurs higher pre-marital investments: the effect for males is significant (0.2 years of education for one standard deviation in the sex ratio) while for females, it is only observed in highly endogamous groups. When faced with an exogenously larger number of males per females, males’ marriages appear to be less stable and more likely to involve natives and more educated spouses while women are less likely to work and, for those in high endogamous groups, marry more immigrants.

Keywords: Pre-marital investments, Sex ratios, Marriage market
JEL Code: J12, J24, J61


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