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低所得米国人は高所得米国人より結婚する可能性低い

Marriage meets the Joneses
Tara Watson at VoxEU
5 May 2009

Our hypothesis is that the financial expectations for a given couple are determined by the income level of a salient local reference group – for example, those in the same education or race group and the same metropolitan area. Specifically, we define the “ideal” income for marriage to be the median income of full-time, full-year workers in the reference group. Then, we compare low-income men that have the same real income but face different marriage ideals. Our sample includes more than 1.3 million 25-to-34-year old men in the 1980, 1990, and 2000 US Censuses.
...
The evidence suggests that relative income matters. Conditional on absolute income, low-income men are less likely to be married if they live in a high-income metropolitan area. Ideals defined by race or education groups within metropolitan areas are particularly salient. Even after carefully controlling for the purchasing power of a man and many other factors, the ratio of his income to the “ideal” is a strong predictor of marriage – but only for men below the ideal. For sufficiently high-income men, relative income doesn’t affect marital status.

...
What do we make of all this? We suspect that low-income couples aspire to achieve a certain economic status before deciding to marry, and that the level of income they need is determined in part by those around them. We propose an identity model (similar to that of Akerlof and Kranton, 2000) to explain the phenomenon.

 ある閾値を超えると所得は幸福にあまり寄与しなくなるだろう。しかし、ある閾値を超えると(相対)所得と結婚は関係なくなる。元々不平等な社会と平等な社会を比べよう。この二つの社会がさらに全体的に不平等になったときに、そのインパクトは平等な社会のほうが大きいだろう。しかし、不平等のなり方も影響を与えるはずだ。一部の所得グループの所得が向上したときに、その他の条件を一定として、不平等度は大きくなる。しかし、結婚には影響を与えないはずだ。逆に、所得の低い層の所得が更に落ちるという形での不平等の拡大は、影響を与えることになるはずだ。Microeconomics meets a certain type of sociology.

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