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The social significance of homogamy

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  • Brynin, Malcolm
  • Longhi, Simonetta
  • Martínez Pérez, Ãlvaro

Abstract

It is a long-standing principle in anthropology, sociology but also economics, that there are strong social and material incentives for people to marry or partner on the basis of social similarity, thus encouraging equality within partnerships but social inequality in the distribution of education, income, or other characteristics. It has been argued, however, that marriage is becoming less homogamous, and therefore that society is becoming more open. Using both the Longitudinal Study and the British Household Panel Study, we find that homogamy remains a powerful factor in marriage and partnership. Further, it reduces stress levels in the partnership and increases over the period of the relationship as partners social and political attitudes become closer over time.

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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2008-32.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2008-32

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  1. Weiss, Yoram & Willis, Robert J, 1997. "Match Quality, New Information, and Marital Dissolution," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages S293-329, January.
  2. Nielsen, Helena Skyt & Svarer, Michael, 2006. "Educational Homogamy: Preferences or Opportunities?," IZA Discussion Papers 2271, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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