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Personality traits and the marriage market

  • Arnaud Dupuy


  • Alfred Galichon

    (Département d'économie)

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 Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 6943.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/7o52iohb7k6srk09mj4j5amb8
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  1. 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.
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  3. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2012. "Matching with a Handicap: The Case of Smoking in the Marriage Market," CHILD Working Papers Series 8, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
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  10. Arnaud Dupuy & Alfred Galichon, 2012. "Canonical Correlation and Assortative Matching: A Remark," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/45je9bvs588, Sciences Po.
  11. Alfred Galichon & Bernard Salanié, 2010. "Matching with Trade-Offs: Revealed Preferences over Competing Characteristics," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1293p84sf58, Sciences Po.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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  15. 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.
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  17. 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.
  18. 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.
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