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The Wealth of Parents: Trends over Time in Assortative Mating Based on Parental Wealth

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  • Wagner, Sander
  • Boertien, Diederik
  • Gørtz, Mette

Abstract

This paper describes trends in parental wealth homogamy among union cohorts formed between 1987 and 2013 in Denmark. Using high-quality register data on the wealth of parents during the year of partnering, we show that the correlation between partners’ levels of parental wealth is considerably lower compared to estimates from earlier research on other countries. Nonetheless, parental wealth homogamy is high at the very top of the parental wealth distribution, and individuals from wealthy families are relatively unlikely to partner with individuals from families with low wealth. Parental wealth correlations among partners are higher when looking only at parental assets rather than net wealth, implying that the former might be a better measure for studying many social stratification processes. Most specifications indicate that homogamy increased in the 2000s relative to the 1990s, but trends can vary depending on methodological choices. The increasing levels of parental wealth homogamy raise concerns that, over time, partnering behavior has become more consequential for wealth inequality between couples.

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  • Wagner, Sander & Boertien, Diederik & Gørtz, Mette, 2019. "The Wealth of Parents: Trends over Time in Assortative Mating Based on Parental Wealth," SocArXiv w4bzx, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:w4bzx
    DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/w4bzx
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Frémeaux & Marion Leturcq, 2022. "Wealth Accumulation and the Gender Wealth Gap Across Couples’ Legal Statuses and Matrimonial Property Regimes in France," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 38(4), pages 643-679, October.
    2. Andreas Fagereng & Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri, 2022. "Assortative Mating and Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 29903, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jo Blanden & Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin, 2021. "Trends in Intergenerational Home Ownership and Wealth Transmission," CEPEO Working Paper Series 21-05, UCL Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, revised May 2021.
    4. Häner, Melanie & Salvi, Michele & Schaltegger, Christoph A., 2022. "Marry into New or Old Money? The Distributional Impact of Marital Decisions from an Intergenerational Perspective," VfS Annual Conference 2022 (Basel): Big Data in Economics 264024, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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