Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department



Dr. Jaqueline Oliveira

Committee Member

Dr. Raymond D. Sauer

Committee Member

Dr. Curtis J. Simon


Three main hypotheses are proposed to explain the male marriage premium. They are marriage selection hypothesis, male-female labor specialization hypothesis and simply discrimination. This paper tries to test if marriage selection hypothesis explains the male marriage premium. The effect of marriage selection, which means males with higher productivity have higher possibility to be chosen into marriage, should be positively correlated to the marriage market competition level in the area and thus in area with higher marriage market competition, a higher density of high productivity males should be observed among married males. On the other hand, the labor specialization is a post-marriage process and should have no relationship with marriage market competition. This difference can be tested to achieve the main purpose of the paper. After analyze the 2005-2012 ACS data, we find a positive correlation between marriage market competition and density of high productivity males. Marriage selection hypothesis explains the marriage premium.