One explanation given
for the gender wage gap is the division of labor in the home. On the marriage
outset, averagely speaking, husbands who are older invest more human capital in
market activities than wives. This paper concentrates on the age gap at first
marriage. It hypothesizes that the demand for children is one important reason
for the husband-wife age gap. To show this, the paper extends a two-sided
matching model of marriage (originally introduced by Eugenio Giolito ) based on the
biological fact that men have a longer fecundity horizon than women and examines
cross-country data from World Marriage Patterns 2000 to show a higher marital
age gap the greater the role children play in economic activities, the greater
the importance of agriculture in an economy, the greater a country’s rural
compared to total population, and the greater the population’s proportion of
Cite this paper
Zhang, X. (2014) Fecundity and Husband-Wife Age Gap at First Marriage—Cross-Country Analysis. Theoretical Economics Letters
, 598-607. doi: 10.4236/tel.2014.47075
 Giolito, E.P. (2003) A Search Model of Marriage with Differential Fecundity. IZA Bonn Discussion Paper No.1082.
 Saardchom, N. and Lemaire, J. (2005) Causes of Increasing Age at Marriage: An International Regression Study. Marriage and Family Review, 3.
 Hajnal, J. (1953) Age at Marriage and Proportions Marrying. Journal of Population Studies, 7, 115-136.
 Becker, G.S. (1991) A Treatise on the Family. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
 Becker, G.S. (1973) A Theory of Marriage: Part I. Journal of Political Economy, 81, 813-846.
 Bergstrom, T. and Bagnoli, M. (1993) Courtship as a Waiting Game. Journal of Political Economy, 101.
 Brien, M. (1997) Racial Differences in Marriage and the Role of Marriage Markets. Journal of Human Resource, 32, 741-778. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/146427
 Burdett, K. and Wright, R. (1998) Two-Sided Search with Nontransferable Utility. Review of Economic Dynamics, 1, 220-245. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/redy.1997.0004
 Gale, D. and Shapley, L. (1962) College Admission and the Stability of Marriage. American Mathematical Monthly, 69, 9-15.
 Mortensen, D. (1988) Matching: Finding a Partner for Life or Otherwise. American Journal of Sociology, 94, S215-S240.
 The United States Median Age at First Marriage, 1890-2002, Data from US Bureau of Census.
 World Marriage Pattern 2000, the United Nations.
 World Development Indicators, 2006, the World Bank.
 World Fact Book, UNESCO Institute of Statistics.