Is there a “marriage premium” for gay men?

by on December 1, 2007 at 1:38 pm in Data Source | Permalink

Data on cohabitation suggest that the answer is no, whether for gay men or cohabiting heterosexuals.  The standard selection story is that women are more likely to choose the high earning men and marry them.  But why don’t women live with these men too?  Does living together not transfer enough resources?  Could it be that real legal marriage is proxying for the ability to commit, which is positively correlated which other determinants of job success?

1 Anonymous December 1, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Thats silly. The difference between legal marriage and cohabitation is that you get to take half the assets with you when you leave a marriage.

2 Psychohistorian December 1, 2007 at 6:21 pm

There’s something I’m missing in this reasoning.

1. Heterosexual cohabiting men experience no premium.
2. Homosexual cohabiting men experience no premium.
3. ?????
4. Therefore, there is no marriage premium for homosexuals.

It seems fair to infer that there is no cohabiting premium for anyone. Absent a meaningful population married gay men, we don’t have the data to infer there’s no marriage premium.

Not to mention this is probably an issue of correlation and not causation. Women who don’t work are (A) going to increase their husband’s productivity significantly (by letting him specialize in work) and (B) are disproportionately likely to insist on marriage. There are probably a hundred other cultural issues at work here. It may well be that if all those cohabiting couples got married, the magnitude of the benefit would plummet, as it is far more effect than cause.

3 Chris December 1, 2007 at 8:04 pm

If you have a form of marriage, which for biological reasons can’t generate offspring, those people are going to have far fewer reasons to make relationship-specific investments…

4 New Economist December 2, 2007 at 11:24 am

Thanks for the link, Tyler.

5 robert December 2, 2007 at 7:31 pm

You see the rates for divorce and child support for high income males! Divorce (“family law”) lawyers can
tell you why this is! If you earn 120k and (you are male) have two kids you will not get full custody
you will pay your ex some alimony (about 700 per month) and about 2k in child support which is
about tax free to the mother. With a 50% divorce rate, any rationale high income male should
invest 1k in a good prenup or forget the whole marriage thing!!!

6 Larry December 3, 2007 at 12:55 pm

The first commenter hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that “[T]he difference between legal marriage and cohabitation is that you get to take half the assets with you when you leave….”

One of the incentives for women to marry men who make a good income
is they will be well taken care of in the event of divorce.

As to Robert’s comment about the level of alimony, I can tell you
that in the People’s Republic of Michigan his estimate is way too low.

7 gsfs March 31, 2008 at 2:10 am
8 wfgg March 31, 2008 at 2:14 am
9 花蓮租車旅遊資訊 August 8, 2009 at 3:27 am

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