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Education, Matching, and the Allocative Value of Romance

  • Alison Booth
  • Melvyn Coles

Societies are characterized by customs governing the allocation of non-market goods such as marital partnerships. We explore how such customs affect the educational investment decisions of young singles and the subsequent joint labor supply decisions of partnered couples. We consider two separate matching paradigms for agents with heterogeneous abilities - one where partners marry for money and the other where partners marry for romantic reasons orthogonal to productivity or debt. These generate different investment incentives and therefore have a real impact on the market economy. While marrying for money generates greater investment eficiency, romantic matching generates greater allocative efficiency, since more high ability individuals participate in the labour market. The analysis offers the possibility of explaining cross-country differences in educational investments and labor force participation based on matching regimes.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1542-4774.2010.tb00539.x
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Article provided by European Economic Association in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
Pages: 744-775

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:8:y:2010:i:4:p:744-775
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  1. Raquel Fernández & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, 2005. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 273-344, January.
  2. George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 2002. "Social Assets," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-025, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 04 Jun 2004.
    • George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 2006. "Social Assets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1057-1091, November.
    • George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 2002. "Social Assets," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-003, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 04 Jun 2004.
  3. James Albrecht & Susan Vroman, 2002. "A Matching Model with Endogenous Skill Requirements," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(1), pages 283-305, February.
  4. Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pieter A. Gautier, 2001. "The Right Man for the Job," CESifo Working Paper Series 540, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Florence Jaumotte, 2003. "Female Labour Force Participation: Past Trends and Main Determinants in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 376, OECD Publishing.
  7. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1997. "Assortative Matching and Search," Working papers 97-2b, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Alp Atakan, 2005. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," 2005 Meeting Papers 218, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  10. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
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