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Fatter attraction: anthropometric and socieconomic matching on the marriage market

  • Pierre Chiapore


    (Economics Department, Columbia University)

  • Climent Quintana Domeque

    (Universidad de Alicante)

  • Sonia Oreffice

    (Universidad de Alicante)

We construct a matching model on the marriage market along more than one characteristic, where individuals have preferences over physical attractiveness (proxied by anthropometric characteristics) and market and household productivity of potential mates (proxied by socioeconomic characteristics), with a certain degree of substitutability between them. Men and women assess each other through an index combining these various attributes, so the matching is one-dimensional. We estimate the sorting and trade-offs among these characteristics using data from the PSID, finding evidence of compensation between anthropometric and socioeconomic characteristics for both genders, and of equality of these marginal rates of substitution across traits. Among men, a 10% increase in BMI can be compensated by a higher wage, the supplement being estimated to be around 3%. Similarly, for women, an additional year of education may compensate up to three BMI units.

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Paper provided by Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) in its series Working Papers. Serie AD with number 2010-23.

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Length: 1 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by Ivie
Handle: RePEc:ivi:wpasad:2010-23
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  1. Lundborg, Petter & Nystedt, Paul & Rooth, Dan-Olof, 2009. "The Height Premium in Earnings: The Role of Physical Capacity and Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 4266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Christian A. Gregory & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2009. "Where Does the Wage Penalty Bite?," NBER Working Papers 14984, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Euna Han & Edward C. Norton & Sally C. Stearns, 2009. "Weight and wages: fat versus lean paychecks," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(5), pages 535-548.
  4. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Climent Quintana Domeque & Sonia Oreffice, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics in the couple: evidence from the PSID," Working Papers. Serie AD 2010-16, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  6. Patrick Legros & Andrew F. Newman, 2003. "Beauty is a Beast, Frog is a Prince: Assortative Matching with Nontransferabilities," Economics Working Papers 0030, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  7. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Dufloi & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2012. "Marry for What? Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," Documentos de Trabajo 423, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  8. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1997. "Assortative Matching and Search," Working papers 97-2b, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Chiappori, Pierre-André & Iyigun, Murat & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Investment in Schooling and the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 2454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Linda Y. Wong, 2003. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 699-728, July.
  11. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
  12. Galichon, Alfred & Salanié, Bernard, 2010. "Matching with Trade-offs: Revealed Preferences over Competing Characteristics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7858, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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