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Marital Matching and Earnings: Evidence from the Unmarried Population in Sweden

  • Robert A. Nakosteen
  • Olle Westerlund
  • Michael A. Zimmer

Social scientists have devoted substantial research to economic basis for matching of men and women in marriage. A common feature of existing studies is their reliance on samples of married couples. The principal shortcoming of spouse data is that spouses’ earnings correlations are contaminated by the partners’ behaviors and other events that occur after marriage and affect their earnings. This study addresses that problem by exploiting a longitudinal data file from the Swedish population. By selecting a sample of married couples in a given year, we retreat through the file to years before the marriage. Using data from the spouses’ single years, we apply the correlation methodology to their earnings. Evidence from the model supports positive assortative mating.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 39 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 ()

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:39:y:2004:i:4:p1033-1044
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  1. David Lam & Robert F. Schoeni, 1994. "Family Ties and Labor Markets in the United States and Brazil," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1235-1258.
  2. Michael Kremer, 1996. "How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 5566, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Smith, James P, 1979. "The Distribution of Family Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 163-92, October.
  4. 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.
  5. Laura Chadwick & Gary Solon, 2002. "Intergenerational Income Mobility Among Daughters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 335-344, March.
  6. Michael Zimmer, 1996. "Assortative mating and ethnicity in the low wage population: an examination of spouses' earnings," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(5), pages 311-315.
  7. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  8. Nakosteen, Robert A & Zimmer, Michael A, 2001. "Spouse Selection and Earnings: Evidence of Marital Sorting," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(2), pages 201-13, April.
  9. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "On the Relevance of the New Economics of the Family," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 317-19, May.
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