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Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality

An increase in positive assortative mating is documented for the period 1960 to 2005, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Thus, people are more likely today than in the past to marry someone from the same educational class. How does this shift in marital sorting affect household income inequality? The analysis finds that the rise in assortative mating, per se, has had a very modest impact on household income inequality. By contrast, another change in marriage patterns, the dramatic uptick in the number of single households, appears to have a stronger connection with widening income inequality. This is a revised version of the 2014 AER P&P paper based on the 2015 corrigendum.

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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: Jun 2015
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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. Nezih Guner & Georgi Kocharkov & Cezar Santos & Jeremy Greenwood, 2012. "Technology And The Changing Family: A Unified Model Of Marriage, Divorce, Educational Attainment And Married Female Labor-Force Participation," 2012 Meeting Papers 168, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. 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.
  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. Christine Schwartz & Robert Mare, 2005. "Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 621-646, November.
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