The marriage wealth premium revisited

Philipp M. Lersch, University of Cologne

In previous research, the continuously married have been found to have more household wealth compared to the never married or those with disrupted marital histories at older ages. Focussing on individuals’ personal wealth rather than households, I revisit three aspects of the association between marriage and wealth that are under researched. First, to address the problem of selectivity in marriage, I compare within-individual changes in wealth associated with marriage. Second, I examine whether the marriage wealth premium is similar for women and men. Third, I contrast the wealth outcomes of marriage and cohabitation. I use data on personal wealth from the German Socio-Economic Panel Survey (2002, 2007, 2012) with panel regression models. In preliminary analyses, I find an immediate marriage wealth premium in within-individual analyses in accordance with previous findings from between-individual analyses. The immediate marriage premium is similar for women and men. However, I find evidence for gender inequality in the cumulative marriage premium later in life. I also find evidence that marriage is unique in its wealth enhancing characteristics compared to cohabitation.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2