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Personality Traits and the Marriage Market

  • Dupuy, Arnaud



  • Galichon, Alfred


    (Sciences Po, Paris)

Which and how many attributes are relevant for the sorting of agents in a matching market? This paper addresses these questions by constructing indices of mutual attractiveness that aggregate information about agents' attributes. The first k indices for agents on each side of the market provide the best approximation of the matching surplus by a k-dimensional model. The methodology is applied on a unique Dutch household survey containing information about education, height, BMI, health, attitude towards risk and personality traits of spouses. Three important empirical conclusions are drawn. First, sorting in the marriage market is not unidimensional: individuals face important trade-offs between the attributes of their spouses which are not amenable to a single-dimensional index. Second, although education explains a quarter of a couple's observable surplus, personality traits explain another 20%. Third, different personality traits matter differently for men and for women.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6943.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Political Economy, 2014, 122 (6), 1271-1319.
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6943
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Oreffice, Sonia & Quintana-Domeque, Climent, 2010. "Anthropometry and socioeconomics among couples: Evidence in the United States," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 373-384, December.
  2. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2011. "Matching with a Handicap: The Case of Smoking in the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2011-017, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. Federico Echenique & Sangmok Lee & Matthew Shum & M. Bumin Yenmez, 2013. "The Revealed Preference Theory of Stable and Extremal Stable Matchings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 153-171, 01.
  4. Nicolas Jacquemet & Jean-Marc Robin, 2011. "Marriage with labor supply," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11050, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  5. Jean-Marc Robin & Richard J. Smith, 2000. "Tests of rank," Post-Print hal-00357758, HAL.
  6. repec:clu:wpaper:1011-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  8. Melissa Osborne & Herbert Gintis & Samuel Bowles, 2001. "The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1137-1176, December.
  9. Marko Tervio, 2008. "The Difference That CEOs Make: An Assignment Model Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 642-68, June.
  10. Linda Y. Wong, 2001. "Structural Estimation of Marriage Models," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 222, Society for Computational Economics.
  11. Gunter J. Hitsch & Ali Horta�su & Dan Ariely, 2010. "Matching and Sorting in Online Dating," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 130-63, March.
  12. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
  13. Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanié, 2010. "Matching with Trade-Offs: Revealed Preferences over Competing Characteristics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1293p84sf58, Sciences Po.
  14. Frank Kleibergen & Richard Paap, 2003. "Generalized Reduced Rank Tests using the Singular Value Decomposition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-003/4, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. DUPUY Arnaud & GALICHON Alfred, 2014. "Canonical correlation and assortative matching: A remark," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-10, LISER.
  16. Pierre-Andr� Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 659 - 695.
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  18. Dan Anderberg, 2004. "Getting Hitched: The Equilibrium Marriage Market Behaviour of a British Cohort," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 04/12, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London, revised Jul 2004.
  19. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst & Alexandra Killewald, 2011. "Marital Sorting and Parental Wealth," NBER Working Papers 16748, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Gustaf Bruze, 2011. "Marriage Choices of Movie Stars: Does Spouse's Education Matter?," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 1 - 28.
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