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Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market

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Author Info

  • Chiappori, Pierre-André

    ()
    (Columbia University)

  • Oreffice, Sonia

    ()
    (University of Surrey)

  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent

    ()
    (University of Oxford)

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 trade-offs among these characteristics using data from the PSID and the ECHP, finding evidence of compensation between anthropometric and socioeconomic characteristics. An additional unit of husband's (wife's) BMI can be compensated by a 0.3%-increase (0.15%-increase) in husband's (wife's) average (predicted) wage. Interestingly, these findings suggest that female physical attractiveness plays a larger role in men's assessment of a woman than male physical attractiveness does for women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4594.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Political Economy, 2012, 120 (4), 659-695
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4594

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Keywords: wages; height; BMI; marriage market; earnings;

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  1. 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.
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  3. Linda Y. Wong, 2001. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 222, Society for Computational Economics.
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  9. Jaume Garcia & Climent Quintana, 2008. "Income and Body Mass Index in Europe," Economic Reports 13-08, FEDEA.
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  16. 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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Cited by:
  1. Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanie, 2010. "Matching with Trade-offs: Revealed Preferences over Competing Characteristics," Discussion Papers 0910-14, Columbia University, Department of Economics.

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