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Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality

  • Fernández, Raquel
  • Guner, Nezih
  • Knowles, John

This Paper examines the interactions between household matching, inequality, and per capita income. We develop a model in which agents decide whether to become skilled or unskilled, form households, consume and have children. We show that the equilibrium sorting of spouses by skill type (their correlation in education) is increasing as a function of the skill premium. In the absence of perfect capital markets, the economy can converge to different steady states, depending upon initial conditions. The degree of marital sorting, wage inequality, per capita income and fertility differentials are positively correlated across steady states. We use household surveys from 34 countries to construct several measures of the skill premium and of the degree of correlation of spouses’ education (marital sorting). For all our measures, we find a positive and significant relationship between the two variables.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3040.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3040
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  1. Kremer, M., 1996. "How Much Does Sorting Increase Inequality?," Working papers 96-18, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
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  8. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John Knowles, . "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Inocome," CARESS Working Papres 99-05, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  9. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1982. "From School to University: The Demand for Post-Compulsory Education in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 654-67, September.
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  11. Peter J. Klenow & Mark Bils, 2000. "Does Schooling Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1160-1183, December.
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  21. 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.
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  24. Easterly, William, 2001. " The Middle Class Consensus and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 317-35, December.
  25. Raquel Fernandez, 2001. "Education, Segregation and Marital Sorting: Theory and an Application to UK Data," NBER Working Papers 8377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Cole, Harold L & Mailath, George J & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1992. "Social Norms, Savings Behavior, and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1092-1125, December.
  27. Kremer, Michael & Chen, Daniel L, 2002. " Income Distribution Dynamics with Endogenous Fertility," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 227-58, September.
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  29. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
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