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Partner Choice, Investment in Children, and the Marital College Premium

Author

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  • Pierre-André Chiappori
  • Bernard Salanié
  • Yoram Weiss

Abstract

We construct a model of household decision-making in which agents consume a private and a public good, interpreted as children's welfare. Children's utility depends on their human capital, which depends on the time their parents spend with them and on the parents' human capital. We first show that as returns to human capital increase, couples at the top of the income distribution should spend more time with their children. This in turn should reinforce assortative matching, in a sense that we precisely define. We then embed the model into a transferable utility matching framework with random preferences, a la Choo and Siow (2006), which we estimate using US marriage data for individuals born between 1943 and 1972. We find that the preference for partners of the same education has significantly increased for white individuals, particularly for the highly educated. We find no evidence of such an increase for black individuals. Moreover, in line with theoretical predictions, we find that the "marital college-plus premium" has increased for women but not for men.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié & Yoram Weiss, 2017. "Partner Choice, Investment in Children, and the Marital College Premium," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2109-2167, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:8:p:2109-67
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20150154
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Shannon Seitz, 2009. "Accounting for Racial Differences in Marriage and Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 385-437, July.
    2. Browning,Martin & Chiappori,Pierre-André & Weiss,Yoram, 2014. "Economics of the Family," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521795395, June.
    3. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Are There Increasing Returns in Marriage Markets?," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-050, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters,in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
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    Cited by:

    1. Omoniyi Alimi & David C Maré & Jacques Poot, 2018. "Who partners up? Educational assortative matching and the distribution of income in New Zealand," Working Papers 18_13, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Bernard Salanié, 2016. "The Econometrics of Matching Models," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(3), pages 832-861, September.
    3. Hanzhe Zhang, 2017. "Higher Career Cost Can Actually Explain Why More Women Than Men Go to College," Working Papers 2017-064, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    4. Zhang, Hanzhe, 2018. "Human Capital Investments, Differential Fecundity, and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2018-7, Michigan State University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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