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Fatter attraction: anthropometric and socieconomic matching on the marriage market

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  • Pierre Chiapore

    ()
    (Economics Department, Columbia University)

  • Climent Quintana Domeque

    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Sonia Oreffice

    (Universidad de Alicante)

Abstract

We construct a matching model on the marriage market along more than one characteristic, where individuals have preferences over physical attractiveness (proxied by anthropometric characteristics) and market and household productivity of potential mates (proxied by socioeconomic characteristics), with a certain degree of substitutability between them. Men and women assess each other through an index combining these various attributes, so the matching is one-dimensional. We estimate the sorting and trade-offs among these characteristics using data from the PSID, finding evidence of compensation between anthropometric and socioeconomic characteristics for both genders, and of equality of these marginal rates of substitution across traits. Among men, a 10% increase in BMI can be compensated by a higher wage, the supplement being estimated to be around 3%. Similarly, for women, an additional year of education may compensate up to three BMI units.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2010-23.

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Length: 1 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-23

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Keywords: BMI; marriage market; wages; education;

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  1. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 2454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Lafortune, Jeanne, 2009. "Marry for What? Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," CEPR Discussion Papers 7300, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  4. Christian A. Gregory & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2011. "Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 315-347 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1997. "Assortative Matching and Search," Working papers 97-2b, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Climent Quintana Domeque & Sonia Oreffice, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics in the couple: evidence from the PSID," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-16, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  7. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 699-728, July.
  8. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
  10. Galichon, Alfred & Salanié, Bernard, 2010. "Matching with Trade-offs: Revealed Preferences over Competing Characteristics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2003. "Beauty is a Beast, Frog is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Economics Working Papers 0030, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  12. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 4266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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