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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Friebel, Guido / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Tsui, Kevin / Wichardt, Philipp / Zulehner, Christine

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High-Powered Careers and Marriage: Can Women Have It All?

Sylvain Dessy1 / Habiba Djebbari2

1Université Laval and CIRPÉE,

2Université Laval, IZA and CIRPÉE,

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Volume 10, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2358, May 2010

Publication History

Published Online:


Why do women often choose family over career? Can't they, like men, have both? At work, women are still under-represented in high-powered professions in most societies. At home, women tend to devote more time to their families than their spouses do. What explains these imbalances? Our model builds upon the fact that women's fertility, unlike men's, declines sharply past age 35. As a result, women may prefer marrying early in order to secure a match rather than investing in their careers while delaying and potentially missing out on marriage. Women's failure to coordinate towards delaying marriage may explain the imbalances within the family and in the labor market.

Keywords: marriage; fertility; economics of gender; occupational choice; returns to experience

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