Ariel J. Binder

Department of Economics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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Institutional Affiliation: University of Michigan

NBER Working Papers and Publications

February 2019The Declining Labor Market Prospects of Less-Educated Men
with John Bound: w25577
Over the last half century, U.S. wage growth stagnated, wage inequality rose, and the labor-force participation rate of prime-age men steadily declined. In this article, we examine these labor market trends, focusing on outcomes for males without a college education. Though wages and participation have fallen in tandem for this population, we argue that the canonical neo-classical framework, which postulates a labor demand curve shifting inward across a stable labor supply curve, does not reasonably explain the data. Alternatives we discuss include adjustment frictions associated with labor demand shocks and effects of the changing marriage market—that is, the fact that fewer less-educated men are forming their own stable families—on male labor supply incentives. Our observations lead ...

Published: Ariel J. Binder & John Bound, 2019. "The Declining Labor Market Prospects of Less-Educated Men," Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol 33(2), pages 163-190.

August 2018Is There a Male Breadwinner Norm? The Hazards of Inferring Preferences from Marriage Market Outcomes
with David Lam: w24907
Building on standard marital matching models, we show that a variety of underlying social preferences about a given trait all generate positive assortative matching on that trait, and hence the same distribution of spousal trait differences in equilibrium. Applying this result to U.S. Census and administrative earnings data, we find that simple models of assortative matching can very closely replicate the observed distribution of spousal earnings differences, in which very few wives out-earn their husbands. We conclude that the distribution of spousal earnings differences in the U.S. provides little information about the existence and implications of a male breadwinner norm.

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