The Marriage Motive: A Price Theory of Marriage. Why Marriage Markets Affect Employment, Consumption and Savings.

by Shoshana Grossbard
Springer, 2015

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Reviews of The Marriage Motive

While this book contains numerous facts and empirical findings and touches on policy issues, its main contribution to the existing literature lies in the theoretical perspective it offers. The core of this book is a general equilibrium theory of labor and marriage presented in Chapter 2, which provides the conceptual framework for the rest of the chapters. Two major implications of the theory are sex ratio effects and compensating differentials in marriage. The book demonstrates how a few core concepts, linked via economic analysis, help explain a multitude of findings based on statistical analyses of data from a wide variety of cultures. It is hoped that readers of this book will improve their understanding of how marriage works to help us design better economic and social policies as well as help people live better and happier lives, making the book of interest to not only economists but sociologists and anthropologists as well.


"Shoshana Grossbard is a leading figure in family economics.  She pioneered a successful journal on the household and has spent her entire career thinking about family issues.  Her work is always worth reading and much can be learned from it." Edward P. Lazear, Jack Steele Parker Professor of Human Resources Management and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business; fellow, BeckerFriedman Institute, University of Chicago; winner of the 2004 IZA prize.

"This innovative book studies marriages from an entirely new angle. It investigates how the institutional settings of the family and partnership markets impact our work life and economic well-being. A truly exciting exercise in understanding reality." Klaus F. Zimmermann, Professor of Economics, Bonn University; Director of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); recipient of the 2013 of the European Investment Bank’ Outstanding Contribution Award.\

"This book contains a penetrating and comprehensive analysis of the impacts of marriage on decisions concerning employment, consumption and savings by the premier economist currently engaged in research on the economics of marriage and more generally on the economics of the household.  I can only say bravo!"  Michael Grossman, Distinguished Professor of Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center; Health Economics Program Director, National Bureau of Economic Research.

"Grossbard's provocative work brings an economist's piercing and hard-headed gaze to marriage, a subject typically relegated exclusively to the arenas of affection and emotion. She treats marriage as a social phenomenon that can be understood fully by mobilizing the apparatus of markets and prices. In the process she provides fresh insights into the factors that shape who we marry and how live with our partners after we marry. Grossbard's book definitely will rejuvenate the study of the economics of the family and inspire further inquiry by other scholars across the social sciences."William Darity Jr., Samuel Du Bois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics, Duke University.

"Shoshana Grossbard was among the early researchers in the field referred to variously as The New Home Economics or the Economics of the Household and she founded and still edits the premier journal in the area, Review of Economics of the Household. In this field she is particularly well known for her research on the economic determinants and consequences of marriage.  The Marriage Motive brings together her considerable experience, enthusiasm and insights for a price theory analysis of how marriage markets shape so much of our lives.  This is an important contribution to the literature on marriage markets, not just for economists, but more broadly, for social scientists."  Barry Chiswick, Professor of Economics, George Washington University; winner of the 2011 IZA prize.

"Shoshana Grossbard was one of the early pioneers in the area of family economics.  She founded and edits one of the leading journals in this area, "Review of Economics of the Household."  Her new book represents a comprehensive treatment of the economics of marriage that is key to understanding trends in marriage and time use." Valerie Ramey, Professor of Economics, University of California, San Diego; and winner of the 2011 "Best Paper" prize for American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics.

"The Marriage Motive is a brilliant and significant attempt to apply Price Theory to an institution where love and emotion seem to govern the behavior of people. She illuminates the role of implicit prices established in marriage markets to explain how much we work, buy and save. This book is worth reading by scholars from all sciences focusing on family life." Bertrand Lemennicier, Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Paris Panthéon-Assas and Center for Research in Law and Economics; Fellow, International Center for Economic Research, Turin, Italy.


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