Multiple Traits in the Marriage Market: Does Diversity Sometimes Win?
A critical part of forming a long-term partnership, be it marriage, employment, co-authorship or some other commitment, is having to trade off among the various traits of one's potential partners. The nature of this trade-off depends both on the type of commitment being considered, as well as on the person making the commitment. In this paper I focus on the impact that this trade-off has on the marriage market equilibrium. Agents differ from one another along more than one trait, and preferences over traits is not homogenous. This implies that all agents do not agree completely on the desirability of potential partners. I characterize both the core allocation as well as the equilibrium that results when there are costly search frictions. The main finding is that in the presence of frictions, an individual who is moderately appealing to diverse tastes among the opposite sex may make a better match than someone who is found to be stunning by one group, but leaves the others cold. Assortative matching patterns emerge along more than one dimension, with the result that there is positive correlation along more than one trait in matched individuals.
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