A model in which women search for husbands characterized by their wages predicts increasing within-group male wage inequality, raises the expected value of continued marital search, and so lowers female marriage propensities. Using 1970, 1980, and 1990 census data, I test this hypothesis within geographically, racially, and educationally defined marriage markets. The estimates suggest rising male wage inequality accounted for 7% to 18% of the decline in the propensity to marry between 1970 and 1990 for white women and more-educated black women. Growing wage inequality appears to have had little effect on the marriage behavior of less-educated black women.

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