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CEP discussion paper
Productivity, Wages and Marriage: The Case of Major League Baseball
Francesca Cornaglia and Naomi E. Feldman
September 2011
Paper No' CEPDP1081:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J31; J44; J70

Tags: productivity; wage gap; marriage; and baseball

The effect of marriage on productivity and, consequently, wages has been long debated in economics. A primary explanation for the impact of marriage on wages has been through its impact on productivity, however, there has been no direct evidence for this. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap by directly measuring the impact of marriage on productivity using a sample of professional baseball players from 1871 - 2007. Our results show that only lower ability men see an increase in productivity, though this result is sensitive to the empirical specification and weakly significant. In addition, despite the lack of any effect on productivity, high ability married players earn roughly 16 - 20 percent more than their single counterparts. We discuss possible reasons why employers may favor married men.