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Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market

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  • Chiappori, Pierre-André

    () (Columbia University)

  • Oreffice, Sonia

    () (University of Surrey)

  • Quintana-Domeque, Climent

    () (University of Oxford)

Abstract

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 trade-offs among these characteristics using data from the PSID and the ECHP, finding evidence of compensation between anthropometric and socioeconomic characteristics. An additional unit of husband's (wife's) BMI can be compensated by a 0.3%-increase (0.15%-increase) in husband's (wife's) average (predicted) wage. Interestingly, these findings suggest that female physical attractiveness plays a larger role in men's assessment of a woman than male physical attractiveness does for women.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiappori, Pierre-André & Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2009. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 4594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4594
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanié, 2010. "Matching with Trade-offs: Revealed Preferences over Competiting Characteristics," Working Papers hal-00473173, HAL.
    2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanié, 2012. "The Roommate Problem is More Stable than You Think," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/3sd5loegec9, Sciences Po.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wages; marriage market; BMI; height; earnings;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics

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