Saturday, November 12, 2011
The "Married Men" Wage Premium
For years, economists have explored the reasons why married men tend to earn more than single men, holding all else equal. Now we have a fascinating new study that looks at this phenomenon in the context of major league baseball. Exploring this issue in sports proves fruitful, because we can actually measure individual productivity more accurately using an array of statistics. Scholars Francesca Cornaglia and Naomi Feldman recently found that married baseball players also earn more than single players. However, they found that the married players were NOT more productive than their single counterparts. What could explain the premium then? Cornaglia and Feldman discovered two interesting nuggets in their research. First, the married players tended to exhibit a bit more stable and consistent performance. That consistency might be quite valuable. Second, they found that having more married players on the team tended to be associated with higher attendance (and therefore, higher team revenue). The results proved statistically significant. What could be occurring? The authors speculate that the married players and their wives might be engaging in a variety of activities that bolster the team's image, and therefore, increase the popularity of the club. For more on this study, you might wish to listen to this interview with the authors on BBC radio.