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Personality and Marital Surplus

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  • Shelly Lundberg

Abstract

This paper uses data from the German Socio-economic Panel Study to examine the relationship between psychological traits, in particular personality, and the formation and dissolution of marital and cohabiting partnerships. Changing patterns of selection into and out of relationships indicate that the determinants of marital surplus have altered between older cohorts who were born in the years after World War II and younger cohorts born in the 1960s. For younger cohorts, relationships between personality traits and the probability of marriage are identical for men and women, which is consistent with returns to marriage that are based on joint consumption. Tastes for marital public goods are negatively related to openness to experience (a desire for change and variety) and positively related to conscientiousness for both men and women. Selection into marriage is associated with distinctly different personality profiles for older men and older women, suggesting that gender-specialized contributions to household public goods were an important source of marital surplus for these cohorts.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 307.

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Length: 38 p.
Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp307

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Shelly Lundberg, 2013. "Educational Inequality and the Returns to Skills," Working Papers 2013-017, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  2. Audrey Light & Yoshiaki Omori, 2012. "Determinants of Long-Term Unions: Who Survives the “Seven Year Itch”?," Working Papers 12-02, Ohio State University, Department of Economics.
  3. Melissa Ruby Banzhaf, 2013. "When It Rains It Pours: Under What Circumstances Does Job Loss Lead to Divorce," Working Papers 13-62, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Lundberg, Shelly, 2013. "The College Type: Personality and Educational Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 7305, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Mansour, Hani & McKinnish, Terra, 2013. "Couples' Time Together: Complementarities in Production versus Complementarities in Consumption," IZA Discussion Papers 7848, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Raphaela Hyee, 2011. "Do Marriage Markets Influence the Divorce Hazard?," Working Papers 685, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.

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