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Anthropometry and socioeconomics in the couple: evidence from the PSID

  • Climent Quintana Domeque

    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Sonia Oreffice

    (Universidad de Alicante)

We analyze empirically the marriage-market aspects of body size, weight, and height in the United States using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on anthropometric characteristics of both spouses. We find evidence of positive sorting in spouses’ BMI, in their weight, and in their height. Within couples, gender-asymmetric trade-offs arise not only between physical and socio-economic attributes, but also between anthropometric attributes, with significant penalties for fatter women and shorter men. A wife’s obesity (body size or weight) measures are negatively correlated with her husband’s income, education, and height, controlling for his weight (or body size) and her height, along with spouses’ demographic and socio-economic characteristics. Conversely, heavier husbands are not penalized by matching with poorer or less educated wives, but only with shorter ones. Height is valued in the market mainly for men, with shorter men matched with heavier and less educated wives.

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File Function: Fisrt version / Primera version, 2010
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Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2010-16.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-16
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