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Preferences and Choice Constraints in Marital Sorting: Evidence From Korea

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  • Soohyung Lee

Abstract

Marital sorting along education, income and other salient dimensions is well-documented for many countries. The degree of marital sorting may influence income inequality, intergenerational mobility, and household labor supply, and other economic outcomes. Marital sorting is thought to arise from some combination of people’s preferences and constraints on their choice sets. However, separating these two causes is difficult because typical data sets provide information on either a person’s spouse or a person’s dating partners, but not both. This paper circumvents this difficulty by using a novel data set from a major Korean matchmaking company which contains both types of information. The paper analyzes gender specific marital preferences by estimating a marriage model. Using the estimated model, I find that constraints on people’s choice sets may account for a substantial fraction of observed sorting along education and industry in the general population. The recent development of new search technologies, such as online dating services, alleviates these constraints and thus may reduce marital sorting along these dimensions. I also find evidence that changing individual-level income inequality has a very limited impact on marital sorting, implying that such changes are unlikely to be amplified at the household-level by endogenous marital sorting.

Suggested Citation

  • Soohyung Lee, 2008. "Preferences and Choice Constraints in Marital Sorting: Evidence From Korea," Discussion Papers 07-042, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:07-042
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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/07-042.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Seo-Young Cho, 2014. "International Marriage for Homogeneity? - Evidence from Marriage Migration in South Korea," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201452, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Ran Abramitzky & Adeline Delavande & Luis Vasconcelos, 2011. "Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 124-157, July.
    3. Larry E. Jones & Alice Schoonbroodt & Michèle Tertilt, 2010. "Fertility Theories: Can They Explain the Negative Fertility-Income Relationship?," NBER Chapters,in: Demography and the Economy, pages 43-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Muriel Niederle & Alvin E. Roth & M. Utku Ünver, 2013. "Unraveling Results from Comparable Demand and Supply: An Experimental Investigation," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(2), pages 1-40, June.
    5. Muriel Niederle & Leeat Yariv, 2009. "Decentralized Matching with Aligned Preferences," NBER Working Papers 14840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marital Sorting; Income Inequality; marriage model; online dating;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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