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The University of Southampton
EconomicsPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

1509 The Marriage Unemployment Gap (Sekyu Choi & Arnau Valladares-Esteban)


Sekyu Choi (University of Bristol) & Arnau Valladares-Esteban (University of Southampton)

Paper Number 1509



December 1, 2015


In this paper we document that married individuals face a lower unemployment rate than their
single counterparts. We refer to this phenomenon as the marriage unemployment gap. Despite
the dramatic demographic changes in the labor market over the last decades, this gap has been
remarkably stable both for men and women. Using a flow-decomposition exercise, we assess
which transition probabilities (across labor force states) are behind the marriage unemployment
gap. We find that, for men, the higher attachment to employment of married males is the main
driver of the gap. For females, we find that the participation margin plays a crucial role.


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