Marriage Premium in Brazil

Jeronimo O. Muniz, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Eduardo L.G. Rios-Neto, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and CEDEPLAR

The objective of this study is to evaluate marriage premium in Brazil, based on a household survey conducted by the Brazilian Census Bureau (IBGE) in the Northeast and Southeast regions in 1996/97. Through the standard application of Oaxaca's decomposition, we compare three groups of males and females (formally married, informal marriage or consensual union, and single). Preliminary results indicate a surprising finding for the Brazilian case: the discrimination component of the wage differences between formally married and single individuals is nearly the same for males and females. However, the discrimination component between formal and informal marriage is positive among males and negative among females. The positive premium for females in informal unions is coherent with the positive association between unstable unions and labor market oriented human capital investments, whereas the positive premium for married women contrasts with the international literature. Further estimations will explore the labor division and selectivity hypotheses.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Families, Parenting, Adolescents, and Children