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Personality traits and the marriage market

  • Arnaud Dupuy

    (ROA)

  • 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. Pierre-André Chiappori & Sonia Oreffice & Climent Quintana-Domeque, 2010. "Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market," Working Papers 2011-012, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
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  4. Arnaud Dupuy & Alfred Galichon, 2012. "Canonical Correlation and Assortative Matching: a remark," Working Papers 2012/40, Maastricht School of Management.
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  13. 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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  16. 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.
  17. Bernard Salanié & Alfred Galichon, 2011. "Cupid's Invisible Hand: Social Surplus and Identification in Matching Models," Discussion Papers 1011-03, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  18. 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.
  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. 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.
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