The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay


The Male Marital Wage Premium: Sorting Versus Differential Pay

By Trond Petersen, University of California, Berkeley and University of Oslo Andrew Penner, University of California, Berkeley, Geir Høgsnes, University of Oslo

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We investigate whether the male marital and parenthood premia arise due to differential pay by employers or from differential sorting of employees on occupations and establishments. We investigate these premia in Norway using matched employeeemployer data in the period 1980–97, a country where public policy has made it easier to combine family and career, with the clearest first-order impact on women, but with possibly attendant increased pressures on men to be more active in the family sphere. We find that the effect of marriage, and to a lesser extent of children, occurs mostly through sorting on occupations and occupation-establishment units.


The role of differential pay from employers is marginal in explaining the marital and parenthood premia. We also find that about 50–75% of the martial premium is due to selection. The men who eventually marry and/or have children sort into the higherpaying occupations and occupation-establishment units even prior to marriage and parenthood. There are no marital premia on wage growth within establishments, but marital premia on promotions. Part of the marital wage premium is thus due to higher promotion rates for married men.

Av Matthew Whiting
Publisert 23. sep. 2010 10:12 - Sist endret 10. okt. 2010 12:35