Correlation of Traits in Married Couples: Assortative Matching or Just Who you Meet?
AbstractThere is a positive and significant correlation of many traits, such as age, religion, socioeconomic status, and education, among spouses. Becker (1973) shows that positive assortative matching â€“ which results in a perfect correlation of traits in spouses â€“ is optimal if the traits enter the household production function as complements. This paper investigates a second reason for these correlations â€“ that they arise from imperfect markets that restrict oneâ€™s pool of potential partners to those similar to oneself. Understanding what causes likes to marry likes has important policy implications. If the observed sorting is due to preferences, then policies promoting diversity are unlikely to be very effective. If, however, the primary reason for similarities among spouses is differential meeting rates, then providing incentives for less segregation becomes important -- not only to reduce contemporary social stratification, but also to mute the intergenerational transmission of inequality
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 797.
Date of creation: 2004
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Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
More information through EDIRC
Assortative Matching; Search; Marriage; Social Stratification; Income Inequality;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
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