Monday, December 22, 2014

Long-term trends in marriage and income

Andrew Cherlin argues marriage inequality and income inequality are related, in the NY Times earlier this month. He's written a cleverly titled book on the topic too.

Phrasing what we see as joint inequalities is accurate and certainly attention grabbing. But underneath could simply be a linear relationship between (expected) earnings and marriage, without a special story about how inequality per se or variance affects outcomes. Maybe Cherlin argues exactly that, and one could imagine how such an argument might proceed: if inequality reflects uncertainty and men or women are risk averse in their marriage choices, then more inequality could reduce marriage, even holding average earnings fixed.