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Anthropometry of love: Height and gender asymmetries in interethnic marriages

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  • Belot, Michèle
  • Fidrmuc, Jan

Abstract

Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for the husband to be taller than the wife, can help explain these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Specifically, we find that ethnic differences in propensity to intermarry with Whites shrink when we control for the proportion of suitable partners with respect to height.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics & Human Biology.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 361-372

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:8:y:2010:i:3:p:361-372

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622964

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Keywords: Intermarriage Gender Height;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barry Chiswick & Christina Houseworth, 2011. "Ethnic intermarriage among immigrants: human capital and assortative mating," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 149-180, June.
  2. Manfredini, Matteo & Breschi, Marco & Fornasin, Alessio & Seghieri, Chiara, 2013. "Height, socioeconomic status and marriage in Italy around 1900," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 465-473.
  3. Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana, 2009. "Anthropometry and Socioeconomics in the Couple: Evidence from the PSID," Working Papers 2009-22, FEDEA.
  4. Andrew E. Clark & Fabrice Etilé, 2010. "Happy house: Spousal weight and individual well-being," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564836, HAL.
  5. Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics among couples: Evidence in the United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 373-384, December.
  6. Carrieri, Vincenzo & De Paola, Maria, 2012. "Height and subjective well-being in Italy," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 289-298.

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