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Sorting and Long-Run Inequality


  • Fernández, Raquel
  • Rogerson, Richard


Many social commentators have raised concerns over the possibility that increased sorting in a society can lead to greater inequality. To investigate this we construct a dynamic model of intergenerational education acquisition, fertility, and marital sorting and parameterize the steady state to match several basic empirical findings. Contrary to Kremer's (1997) finding of a basically insignificant effect of marital sorting on inequality, we find that increased marital sorting will significantly increase income inequality. Three factors are central to our findings: a negative correlation between fertility and education, a decreasing marginal effect of parental education on children's years of education, and wages that are sensitive to the relative supply of skilled workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Fernández, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 2000. "Sorting and Long-Run Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2352

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    2. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
    3. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1997. "Education finance reform: A dynamic perspective," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 67-84.
    4. Michael Kremer, 1997. "How Much does Sorting Increase Inequality?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 115-139.
    5. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1998. "Public Education and Income Distribution: A Dynamic Quantitative Evaluation of Education-Finance Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 813-833, September.
    6. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, August.
    7. Benabou, R., 1992. "Heterogeneity, Stratification, and Growth," Working papers 93-4, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. Daniel Chen & Michael Kremer, 1999. "Income-Distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 155-160, May.
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    10. Kremer, M & Maskin, E, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," Working papers 96-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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    15. Raquel Fernández & Jordi Gali, 1999. "To Each According to …? Markets, Tournaments, and the Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 799-824.
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    More about this item


    Fertility; Inequality; Marriage; Sorting;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts


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