The Effects of Assortative Mating on Income Inequality: A Decompositional Analysis
Using the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Survey of Income and Household Costs, this paper explores the effect of changing assortative mating patterns on income inequality. Evidence from theoretical and mathematically calibrated models suggest that assortative mating has distributional implications for measurable traits, which include income. Using a semi-parametric conditional weighted kernel density estimation framework we analyse the effect of assortative mating on the distribution of income in Australia. In controlling for labour force participation, family characteristics, education and other demographic variables, we find some evidence to suggest that assortative mating has had an influence on the increase in income inequality in the 17 years to 2003. The results are robust to several changes in specification.
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