In most times and places,
women on average marry older men. We propose a partial explanation for
this difference and for
why it is diminishing. In a society in which the economic roles of males are more varied than the roles of females, the relative
desirability of females as marriage partners may become evident at an earlier age than is the case for males. We study an
equilibrium model in which the males who regard their prospects as unusually good choose to wait until their economic
success is revealed before choosing a bride. In equilibrium, the most desirable young females choose successful older males.
Young males who believe that time will not treat them kindly will offer to marry at a young age. Although they are aware that
young males available for marriage are no bargain, the less desirable young females will be offered no better option than the
lottery presented by marrying a young male. We show the existence of equilibrium for models of this type and explore the
properties of equilibrium.