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Jel Classification:J12 

Journal Article
Do Family Structure Differences Explain Trends in Wealth Differentials?

Race and ethnic wealth differentials are wide and increasing. Some of the gaps are associated with education differences, but education alone cannot account for the substantially higher net worth of White families than of Black and Hispanic families. As of 2013, the median wealth of Black college graduate families had fallen to only 13 percent of the median wealth of White families. One possible explanation is the significantly lower shares of married couple and married parent households among minorities. For example, even among college graduates, only 41 percent of Black family heads were ...
Review , Volume 99 , Issue 1 , Pages 85-101

Working Paper
Credit Scores and Committed Relationships

This paper presents novel evidence on the role of credit scores in the dynamics of committed relationships. We document substantial positive assortative matching with respect to credit scores, even when controlling for other socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. As a result, individual-level differences in access to credit are largely preserved at the household level. Moreover, we find that the couples' average level of and the match quality in credit scores, measured at the time of relationship formation, are highly predictive of subsequent separations. This result arises, in part, ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-81

Working Paper
Improving Child Welfare in Middle Income Countries: The Unintended Consequence of a Pro-Homemaker Divorce Law and Wait Time to Divorce

This study identifies the impact of access to and the speed of divorce on the welfare of children in a middle income largely Catholic country. Using difference-in-difference estimation techniques, I compare school enrollment for children of married and cohabiting parent households before and after the legalization of divorce. Implementing pro-homemaker divorce laws increased school enrollment anywhere from 3.4 to 5.5 percentage points, and the effect was particularly salient on secondary school students. I provide evidence that administrative processes influencing the speed of divorce affect ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 27

Working Paper
Manning Up and Womaning Down: How Husbands and Wives Report Earnings When She Earns More

To infer social preferences regarding the relative earnings of spouses, we use measurement error in the earnings reported for married couples in the Current Population Survey. We compare the earnings reported for husbands and wives in the survey with their “true” earnings as reported by their employers to tax authorities. Compared with couples where the wife earns just less than the husband, those where she earns just more are 15.9 percentage points more likely to under-report her relative earnings. This pattern reflects the reporting behavior of both husbands and wives and is consistent ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 28

Working Paper
Fertility Shocks and Equilibrium Marriage-Rate Dynamics

Why did the marriage probability of single females in France after World War 1 rise 50% above its pre-war average, despite a 33% drop in the male/female singles ratio? We conjecture that war-time disruption of the marriage market generated an abnormal abundance of men with relatively high marriage propensities. Our model of matching over the lifecycle, when calibrated to pre-war data and two war-time shocks, succeeds in matching the French time path under the additional assumption of a pro-natalist post-war preference shock. We conclude that endogeneity issues make the sex ratio a potentially ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-7

Working Paper
Optimal Taxation, Marriage, Home Production, and Family Labor Supply

An empirical approach to optimal income taxation design is developed within an equilibrium collective marriage market model with imperfectly transferable utility. Taxes distort labour supply and time allocation decisions, as well as marriage market outcomes, and the within household decision process. Using data from the American Community Survey and American Time Use Survey, we structurally estimate our model and explore empirical design problems. We consider the optimal design problem when the planner is able to condition taxes on marital status, as in the U.S. tax code, but we allow the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2016-10

Report
Human capital investments and expectations about career and family

This paper studies how individuals believe human capital investments will affect their future career and family life. We conducted a survey of high-ability currently enrolled college students and elicited beliefs about how their choice of college major, and whether to complete their degree at all, would affect a wide array of future events, including future earnings, employment, marriage prospects, potential spousal characteristics, and fertility. We find that students perceive large ?returns" to human capital not only in their own future earnings, but also in a number of other dimensions ...
Staff Reports , Paper 792

Report
Educational assortative mating and household income inequality

We document the degree of educational assortative mating, how it evolves over time, and the extent to which it differs between countries. Our analysis focuses on the United States but also uses data from Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway. We find evidence of positive assortative mating at all levels of education in each country. However, the time trends vary by the level of education: Among college graduates, assortative mating has been declining over time, whereas individuals with a low level of education are increasingly sorting into internally homogeneous marriages. These ...
Staff Reports , Paper 682

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