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School of Economics and Finance

No. 818: Productivity, Wages, and Marriage: A Case Study in Professional Athletics

Francesca Cornaglia , Queen Mary University of London
E. Feldman , Federal Reserve Board

April 10, 2017

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The effect of marriage on productivity and wages has been long debated. A dif´Čüculty in estimating the effect of marriage on productivity is the lack of data that contain measures of both marital status and exogenous productivity. We fill this gap by using a sample of professional athletes from 1975 - 2007. Our results show that there is little correlation between individual measures of productivity and marriage, yet, wages are up to 15 percent higher for some married players. We find that married players exhibit more stable performance and teams with higher fractions of married players are more successful.

J.E.L classification codes: J31, J44, J70

Keywords:Productivity, Wage gap, Marriage