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Here’s Why Married Men Earn More Than Single Men


This article investigates how marriage affects the wages of men in Germany. A variety of reasons have been proposed for why married men earn higher wages than single men; however, previous tests of the leading explanations have been inconclusive. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, it is found that married men enjoy a wage premium even after controlling for self-selection into marriage. In contrast to the popular household specialization hypothesis, men do not substantially reduce their housework time following marriage; neither does the housework time significantly affect the wage rate. This finding contrasts the prevailing view that the wage differential between married and single men results from the division of labour within the household. However, men married to non-working partners receive a larger wage premium than men married to full-time working wives. It is further shown that married men feel less satisfied with their financial situation as compared to their single counterparts. These results indicate that a lower level of pay satisfaction induce married men to put more effort into their work, which leads to higher wages.

Source: “Marriage and Earnings: Why Do Married Men Earn More than Single Men?” from European Sociological Review

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