Is Marriage Premium Distributed Equally to Everyone? Heterogeneous Returns to Marriage for Individual Well-Being in China

Zheng Mu, University of Michigan

This study aims to examine how returns to marriage differ across individuals with varying tendencies to get married, who are heterogeneous on unobserved characteristics. This speaks to the endogeneity issue for the marriage-wellbeing relationship by comparing individuals with similar propensities towards marriage. Specifically, using 2006 China General Social Survey, I apply Brand and Xie’s (2010) framework of heterogeneous treatment effect and evaluate marriage premiums regarding a variety of well-being outcomes, within different strata determined by estimated propensities to get married. Moreover, I investigate how the returns to marriage differ across gender as well as well-being outcomes. Preliminary results show that men consistently benefit from marriage. However, women suffer in terms of socioeconomic status, life satisfaction and happiness, while receive premium regarding satisfaction with self health status. There is some evidence for negative selection regarding socioeconomic status and satisfaction with self health status, and positive selection regarding life satisfaction and happiness.

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Presented in Poster Session 7