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Courtship as a Waiting Game
Journal of Political Economy (1993)
  • Ted Bergstrom, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Mark Bagnoli, Purdue University

In most times and places, women on average, marry older men. We suggest a partial explanation. If the economic roles of males are more specialized than those of females, the desirability of a female as a mate may become evident at an earlier age than is the case for males. Males with good prospects will wait until their economic success is revealed before choosing a bride. Those with poor prospects try to marry young. In equilibrium, the most desirable young females choose successful older males. The less desirable young females have no better option than to marry available young males.

  • age at marriage,
  • matching,
  • signaling,
  • age difference between spouses
Publication Date
February 1, 1993
Citation Information
Ted Bergstrom and Mark Bagnoli. "Courtship as a Waiting Game" Journal of Political Economy Vol. 101 Iss. 1 (1993)
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