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Targeted search with horizontal differentiation in the marriage market


  • Xu, Yujing
  • Yang, Huanxing


We develop a search/matching model in the marriage market with heterogeneous men (a continuum of types) and heterogeneous women (a finite number of types). The model has two distinguishing features. First, men and women are also horizontally differentiated. Second, the search is targeted: each type of woman constitutes a distinctive submarket, and men are able to choose beforehand in which submarkets to participate, but the search is random within each submarket. We show that there is always a unique equilibrium in which men are endogenously segmented into different submarkets, and that the equilibrium matching pattern is weakly positive assortative. We then explore how the equilibrium marriage pattern changes horizontally and vertically as some exogenous shocks occur. In particular, we show that an Internet-induced increase in search efficiency would make the marriage pattern overall more assortative, while an increase in the dispersion of the horizontal match fitness could make the marriage pattern overall less assortative.

Suggested Citation

  • Xu, Yujing & Yang, Huanxing, 2019. "Targeted search with horizontal differentiation in the marriage market," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 31-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:164:y:2019:i:c:p:31-62
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.05.023

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    More about this item


    Horizontal differentiation; Marriage market; Matching; Targeted search;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure


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