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Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching

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  • Ran Abramitzky

    ()
    (Stanford University)

  • Adeline Delavande

    (RAND
    Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

  • Luis Vasconcelos

    (Department of Economics, Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Abstract

By observing the large negative exogenous shock to the French male population from to WWI casualties, we study the effect of a change in the sex ratio on marital assortative matching by social class. First, we analyzed a novel data set that links marriage-level to French population and military mortality. Then, we calculated the sex ratio in a region with military mortality, which exhibits exogenous geographic variation. Ultiamtely, we found that men married women of higher social class than themselves more often in regions that experienced a larger decrease in the sex ratio. A decrease in the sex ratio of man to woman from 1.00 to 0.90 increased the probability that men married up by 8 percent. These findings provide insight into individuals’ preferences for spouses. Men appear to prefer to marry higher-class spouses, but cannot do so when the sex ratio is balanced.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-030.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:09-030

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Keywords: Marriage; sex ratio; assortative matching; social classes;

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References

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