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Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality

Has there been an increase in positive assortative mating? Does assortative mating contribute to household income inequality? Data from the United States Census Bureau suggests there has been a rise in assortative mating. Additionally, assortative mating affects household income inequality. In particular, if matching in 2005 between husbands and wives had been random, instead of the pattern observed in the data, then the Gini coefficient would have fallen from the observed 0.43 to 0.34, so that income inequality would be smaller. Thus, assortative mating is important for income inequality. The high level of married female labor-force participation in 2005 is important for this result.

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Paper provided by Economie d'Avant Garde in its series Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports with number 23.

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Date of creation: Dec 2013
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Handle: RePEc:eag:rereps:23
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.jeremygreenwood.net/EAG.htm

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  1. Greenwood, Jeremy & Guner, Nezih & Kocharkov, Georgi & Santos, Cezar, 2015. "Technology and the Changing Family: A Unified Model of Marriage, Divorce, Educational Attainment and Married Female Labor-Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 8831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christine Schwartz & Robert Mare, 2005. "Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 621-646, November.
  3. Maria Cancian & Deborah Reed, 1998. "Assessing The Effects Of Wives' Earnings On Family Income Inequality," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 73-79, February.
  4. Lam, David, 1993. "Demographic variables and income inequality," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1015-1059 Elsevier.
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