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Racial-Ethnic and Gender Differences in Returns to Cohabitation and Marriage : Evidence From the Current Population Study.

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Cohen, Philip N.
Technical Report
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A large body of research documents the earnings advantage that married men enjoy over never-married men, the "marriage premium." Marital status is now a control variable in most earnings models, despite disagreements in the literature over whether the source of marital-status effects lies in productivity, selection, discrimination or other factors (Cornwell & Rupert 1997). Some analysts recently have included nonmarital cohabitation in earnings models, generally finding a somewhat smaller but still significant premium to cohabitation (Daniel 1992; Loh 1996). Almost all of this research has examined men's earnings exclusively, and most of it has not examined racial-ethnic groups separately. Using data from the March Current Population Survey, this paper asks the basic question: is there a cohabitation "premium" in wages observed in cross-section in the years 1994-1996, and if so, does this premium differ across gender as well as racial-ethnic groups? (Author abstract).

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