Women, education, and earnings

From the job market paper of Miriam Gensowski, from University of Chicago:

Yet for education levels beyond the bachelor’s, higher education is associated with slightly lower earnings through marriage. The more highly educated women are less likely to be married, and thus lose the opportunity to bolster their own earnings with their husband’s. In the case of women with a Masters degree, the negative effect is clearly related to lower probability of being married – as Fig. 8 shows. A woman’s propensity to be married is much lower for women with a master’s as opposed to a bachelor’s degree or high school diploma. Most interestingly, the exceptional women who obtained a Doctorate degree did not suffer significantly in the marriage market, as one might have anticipated. Even though they were significantly less likely to be married, when they were married their husbands had higher-than-average earnings, so overall the impact of their high education on the returns to marriage are not statistically different from zero.

Of course there is a tricky causal issue.  If you truly feel like getting a Masters degree, that may be enough to indicate your marriage prospects are lower and refraining from the Masters may not much help.  We don’t know.

The paper is interesting throughout.  For instance it finds a high return to education even after adjusting for IQ and personality traits.  It ascertains which male personality types benefit the most from education.  It also finds that the personality trait of neuroticism increases male earnings if correlated with a Masters or Ph.d but not otherwise.


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