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Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assortative Mating and Cross-Productivity

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  • Chong Huang
  • Hongbin Li
  • Pak Wai Liu
  • Junsen Zhang

Abstract

Spousal education is correlated with earnings for two reasons: cross-productivity between couples and assortative mating. This article empirically disentangles the two effects by using Chinese twins data. We have two innovations: using twins data to control for the unobserved mating effect in our estimations and estimating both current and wedding-time earnings equations. We find that both crossproductivity and mating are important in explaining the current earnings. Although the mating effect exists for both husbands and wives, the cross-productivity effect mainly runs from Chinese husbands to wives. Our findings shed light on the theories of human capital, marriage, and the family. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Chong Huang & Hongbin Li & Pak Wai Liu & Junsen Zhang, 2009. "Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assortative Mating and Cross-Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 633-652, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:27:y:2009:i:4:p:633-652
    DOI: 10.1086/644746
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    2. Yamamura, Eiji & Mano, Yukichi, 2010. "The Relationship Between the Effects of a Wife’s Education on her Husband’s Earnings and her Labor Participation: Japan in the period 2000 -2003," MPRA Paper 22439, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Yukichi Mano & Eiji Yamamura, 2011. "Effects of Husband's Education and Family Structure on Labor Force Participation and Married Japanese Women's Earnings," Japanese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 71-91.
    4. Yamamura, Eiji & Tsutsui, Yoshiro, 2017. "Comparing the role of the height of men and women in the marriage market," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 42-50.
    5. Nicola Barban & Elisabetta De Cao & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2016. "Assortative Mating on Education: A Genetic Assessment," Working Papers 2016-034, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Eiji Yamamura & Yukichi Mano, 2012. "An Investigation into the Positive Effect of an Educated Wife on Her Husband’s Earnings: The Case of Japan in the Period between 2000 and 2003," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 18(4), pages 409-416, November.
    7. repec:kap:iaecre:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:409-416 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Mien-Yun Kuo & Ji-Liang Shiu, 2016. "A dynamic quantitative evaluation of higher education return: evidence from Taiwan education expansion," Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 276-300, April.
    9. Annemie Nys & Leen Meeusen & Vincent Corluy, 2016. "Who cares? A Counterfactual Analysis of Household Work Intensity in Households with Disabled Family Members," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(2), pages 675-691, September.
    10. Huang, Fali & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2015. "Love, money, and old age support : does parental matchmaking matter ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7188, The World Bank.
    11. Yukichi Mano & Eiji Yamamura, 2013. "Influence of a Wife's Working Status on Her Husband's Accumulation of Human Capital," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 27(4), pages 323-339, December.
    12. Huang, Fali & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2017. "Love, money, and parental goods: Does parental matchmaking matter?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 224-245.
    13. Cheng, Zhiming & Smyth, Russell, 2021. "Education and migrant entrepreneurship in urban China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 188(C), pages 506-529.
    14. Yamamura, Eiji, 2013. "Externality of young children on parents’ watching of anime: Evidence from Japanese micro data," MPRA Paper 46878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Hu, Feng, 2015. "Return to Education for China’s Return Migrant Entrepreneurs," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 296-307.
    16. Guo, Rufei & Lin, Lin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2020. "The cross-spousal effect of education on health," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).
    17. Barban, Nicola & De Cao, Elisabetta & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2021. "The effect of education on spousal education: A genetic approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    18. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui, 2016. "Comparing the role of height between men and women in the marriage market," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 16-20, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    19. Martin Dribe & Paul Nystedt, 2013. "Educational Homogamy and Gender-Specific Earnings: Sweden, 1990–2009," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(4), pages 1197-1216, August.
    20. Nicholas A. Jolly, 2019. "Female Earnings and the Returns to Spousal Education Over Time," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 691-709, December.
    21. Bennett, Patrick, 2018. "The heterogeneous effects of education on crime: Evidence from Danish administrative twin data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 160-177.
    22. Anderson, Axel, 2015. "A dynamic generalization of Becker's assortative matching result," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PA), pages 290-310.
    23. Dhamija, Gaurav & Roychowdhury, Punarjit, 2018. "The impact of women's age at marriage on own and spousal labor market outcomes in India: causation or selection?," MPRA Paper 86686, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    24. Soo Hong Chew & Junjian Yi & Junsen Zhang & Songfa Zhong, 2016. "Education and anomalies in decision making: Experimental evidence from Chinese adult twins," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 163-200, December.
    25. Mano, Yukichi & Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Human Capital Accumulation through Interaction between a Married Couple: Comparison between a Housewife and a Working Wife," MPRA Paper 28936, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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