So today is our 4th wedding anniversary. I’m one happily married economist!
Although I do not work directly with the economics of marriage, I do have a paper on household decision making in Nicaragua. Economists typically, look at marriage and households in one of two ways. Either the household is a single unit making one decision, or the two married members bargain based on their power to influence household decisions to get the household to move more resources to things they like. My wife and I have similar, but slightly different preferences. I think the key to a happy marriage is to try to convince yourself your household is a single unit, while going through the bargaining process.
Some other thoughts on marriage from a couple of Econ bloggers
From Greg Mankiw:“Economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald have suggested that a lasting marriage produces as much happiness as an extra $100,000 a year in salary….”’
From Tyler Cowen Marginalrevolution.com:
“The secret to a good marriage, therefore is selective forgetfulness.”
Tim Harford from Slate“Joskow's explanation surely tells you something about when to be a freelancer—perhaps even when to stop playing the field and get married. Like East Coast coal mines, it can be attractive to be footloose and fancy-free as long as you always have alternatives and as long as you are not required to make serious investments that are specific to the relationship. My own marriage was swiftly followed by a relationship-specific investment. She's nearly 2 and a half.”