September 2005

IZA DP No. 1745: The Male Marital Wage Differential: Race, Training, and Fixed Effects

published in: Economic Inquiry, 2010, 48(3), 722-742

Married white men have higher wages and faster wage growth than unmarried white men. Using the NLSY, we examine whether racial differences in intrahousehold specialization and formal training explain married men's faster wage growth, and individual-specific data on cognitive skills, family background, and self-esteem contribute to married men’s higher wages. African American households engage in less intrahousehold specialization and experience no differential wage growth – a finding consistent with an intrahousehold specialization argument. However, while married men have more training, cognitive ability, and self-esteem than unmarried men, controlling for these differences does not explain any component of the marital wage differential.