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Multi-Trait Matching and Intergenerational Mobility: A Cinderella Story

  • Chen, Natalie
  • Conconi, Paola
  • Perroni, Carlo

Empirical studies of intergenerational social mobility have found that women are more mobile than men. To explain this finding, we describe a model of multi-trait matching and inheritance, in which individuals’ attractiveness in the marriage market depends on their market and non-market characteristics. We show that the observed gender differences in social mobility can arise if market characteristics are relatively more important in determining marriage outcomes for men than for women and are more persistent across generations than non-market characteristics. Paradoxically, the female advantage in social mobility may be due to their adverse treatment in the labor market. A reduction in gender discrimination in the labor market leads to an increase in homogamy in the marriage market, lowering social mobility for both genders.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8605.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8605
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  1. Christine Schwartz & Robert Mare, 2005. "Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 621-646, November.
  2. Silke Anger, 2011. "The Intergenerational Transmission of Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills During Adolescence and Young Adulthood," Working Papers 2011-023, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. Goldberger, A.S., 1989. "Economic And Mechanical Models Of Intergenerational Transmission," Working papers 374, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2005. "Unequal pay or unequal employment?: a cross-country analysis of gender gaps," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3660, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Raymond Fisman & Sheena S. Iyengar & Emir Kamenica & Itamar Simonson, 2006. "Gender Differences in Mate Selection: Evidence from a Speed Dating Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 673-697, May.
  6. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2002. "Beauty is a Beast, Frog is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-149, Boston University - Department of Economics, revised Nov 2004.
  7. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder, 2008. "Intergenerational Economic Mobility in the United States, 1940 to 2000," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(1).
  8. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  10. Borjas, George J, 1993. "The Intergenerational Mobility of Immigrants," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 113-35, January.
  11. Plug, Erik & Vijverberg, Wim P., 2001. "Schooling, Family Background, and Adoption: Is it Nature or is it Nurture?," IZA Discussion Papers 247, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  13. Sandra Black & Paul Devereux & Kjell Salvanes, 2004. "Why the apple doesn't fall far: understanding intergenerational transmission of human capital," Working Paper Series 2004-12, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  15. Björklund, Anders & Eriksson, Tor & Jäntti, Markus & Raaum, Oddbjørn & Österbacka, Eva, 2000. "Brother Correlations in Earnings in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden Compared to the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Alp E. Atakan, 2006. "Assortative Matching with Explicit Search Costs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 667-680, 05.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521827607 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Hirvonen, Lalaina, 2006. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility Among Daughters and Sons: Evidence from Sweden and a Comparison with the United States," Working Paper Series 5/2006, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  19. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
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