NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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David Lam

Department of Economics
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Tel: 734/763-3009

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
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NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Research Associate

NBER Working Papers and Publications

August 2018Is There a Male Breadwinner Norm? The Hazards of Inferring Preferences from Marriage Market Outcomes
with Ariel J. Binder: w24907
Spousal characteristics such as age, height, and earnings are often used to infer social preferences. For example, a “male taller” norm has been inferred from the fact that fewer wives are taller than their husbands than would occur with random matching. The large proportion of husbands out-earning their wives has been cited as evidence for a “male breadwinner” norm. We show that it can be misleading to infer social preferences about an attribute from observed marital sorting on that attribute. We show that positive assortative matching on an attribute is consistent with a variety of underlying preferences. Given gender gaps in height and earnings, positive sorting implies it will be rare for women to be taller or richer than their husbands--even without an underlying preference for shorte...
November 2013Credit Constraints and the Racial Gap in Post-Secondary Education in South Africa
with Cally Ardington, Nicola Branson, Murray Leibbrandt: w19607
This paper analyzes the impact of high school household income and scholastic ability on post-secondary enrollment in South Africa. Using longitudinal data from the Cape Area Panel Study (CAPS), we analyze the large racial gaps in the proportion of high school graduates who enroll in university and other forms of post-secondary education. Our results indicate that family background and high school achievement (measured by a literacy and numeracy exam and performance on the grade 12 matriculation exam) are strong predictors of post-secondary enrollment and statistically account for all of the black-white difference in enrollment. Controlling for parental education and baseline scholastic ability reduces the estimated impact of household income on university enrollment, though there continue...
 
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