Lending Club Blog

Premium Wages for Married Men

The wage gap between men and women is a popular topic of conversation and analysis, but isn’t the only gap that exists in American business. Another common discrepancy exists in wages between single and married men.

A 2003 study of this wage difference was performed by the economics department of the University of California, San Diego with the hopes of quantifying the amount of the wage gap and identifying its causes. There are three common reasons given for why married men earn more: fewer household-related tasks allow them to focus on their careers, employers discriminately prefer married men, and the same qualities that make them more successful at work also make them more successful with women.

To eliminate (or reduce) the third factor, the UCSD study examined sets of identical twins, one married, one single. The conclusion reached was that being married amounted to 27% higher wages. A new theory for this discrepancy was also presented: married men may be inspired to work harder and seek higher wages because their success affects not only their own personal well being, but that of their wife and children as well.

Though these results come from just one of many studies on the subject, it is interesting to consider the result. Many people see a boost in their finances after they get married as many expenses become shared. For example, the cost for two people to live in a large apartment is generally less than if each lived in a small apartment. It would be easy, for the fact that the salary of the now-married man begins to accelerate can be hidden as a result. Perhaps it’s the combination of consolidation and wage premium that makes married life seem more conducive to getting ahead financially.

How does your wage compare to those of your colleagues with a different marital status than your own?

Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

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