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Marital Sorting and Parental Wealth

Listed author(s):
  • Kerwin Charles

    ()

  • Erik Hurst
  • Alexandra Killewald

The extent of marital sorting by socioeconomic background has implications for the intergenerational transmission of inequality, the role of marriage as a mechanism for social mobility, and the extent of cross-group interactions within a society. However, studies of assortative mating have disproportionately focused on spouses’ education, rather than their social origins. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and exploiting the unique genealogical design of the data set, we study the degree to which spouses sort on the basis of parental wealth. We find that the estimated correlation in parental wealth among married spouses, after controlling for race and age, is about .4. Importantly, we show that controlling for spousal education explains only one-quarter of sorting based on parental wealth. We show that our results are robust to accounting for measurement error in spousal reports of parental wealth and for selection into and out of marriage. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s13524-012-0144-6
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Article provided by Springer & Population Association of America (PAA) in its journal Demography.

Volume (Year): 50 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 51-70

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Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:51-70
DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0144-6
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Web page: http://www.populationassociation.org/

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/journal/13524

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  1. Raquel Fernández & Richard Rogerson, 2001. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1305-1341.
  2. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2003. "The Correlation of Wealth across Generations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1155-1182, December.
  3. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  4. Lillard, L.A. & Waite, L.J., 1993. "'Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruption and Mortality," Papers 93-10, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  5. Saul Hoffman & Greg Duncan, 1988. "What are the economic consequences of divorce?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(4), pages 641-645, November.
  6. Michael Kremer, 1997. "How Much does Sorting Increase Inequality?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 115-139.
  7. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-429, June.
  8. Barsky R. & Bound J. & Charles K.K. & Lupton J.P., 2002. "Accounting for the Black-White Wealth Gap: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 97, pages 663-673, September.
  9. David Lam, 1988. "Marriage Markets and Assortative Mating with Household Public Goods: Theoretical Results and Empirical Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(4), pages 462-487.
  10. 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..
  11. Chun, Hyunbae & Lee, Injae, 2001. "Why Do Married Men Earn More: Productivity or Marriage Selection?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 307-319, April.
  12. Pencavel, John, 1998. "Assortative Mating by Schooling and the Work Behavior of Wives and Husbands," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 326-329, May.
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