Schünemann, Johannes Strulik, Holger Trimborn, Timo
Year of Publication:
cege Discussion Papers No. 339
Married people live longer than singles but how much of the longevity gap is causal and what the particular mechanisms are is not fully understood. In this paper we propose a new approach, based on counterfactual computational experiments, in order to asses how much of the marriage gap can be explained by income pooling and public-goods sharing as well as collective bargaining of partners with different preferences and biology. For that purpose we integrate cooperative decision making of a couple into a biologically founded life-cycle model of health deficit accumulation and endogenous longevity. We calibrate the model with U.S. data and perform the counterfactual experiment of preventing the partnership. We elaborate four economic channels and find that, as singles, men live 8.5 months shorter and women 6 months longer. We conclude that about 25% of the marriage gain in longevity of men can be motivated by economic calculus while the marriage gain for women observed in the data is attributed to selection or other (non-standard economic) motives.
health aging longevity marriage-gap gender-specific preferences unhealthy behavior