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Marital Patterns and Income Inequality


  • Dupuy, Arnaud

    () (University of Luxembourg)

  • Weber, Simon

    () (KU Leuven)


We investigate the role of marital patterns in explaining rising income inequality using a structural marriage matching model with unobserved heterogeneity. This allows us to consider both the extensive and intensive margins of the marriage market, i.e. who remains single and who marries whom. Using US data from 1962 to 2017, we show that marital patterns can explain about 1/3 of the rise in income inequality. The intensive margin (educational assortative mating) has only played a minor role (5%), the extensive margin being the main driver of the contribution of marital patterns (95%).

Suggested Citation

  • Dupuy, Arnaud & Weber, Simon, 2018. "Marital Patterns and Income Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 11572, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11572

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    marriage market; matching; singles; assortative mating;

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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