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College as a Marriage Market

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Abstract

Recent descriptive work suggests the type of college education (field or institution) is an important but neglected pathway through which individuals sort into homogeneous marriages. These descriptive studies raise the question of why college graduates are so likely to marry someone within their own institution or field of study. One possible explanation is that individuals match on traits correlated with the choice of education, such as innate ability, tastes or family environment. Another possible explanation is that the choice of college education causally impacts whether and whom one marries, either because of search frictions or preferences for spousal education. The goal of this paper is to sort out these explanations and, by doing so, examine the role of colleges as marriage markets. Using data from Norway to address key identification and measurement challenges, we find that colleges are local marriage markets, mattering greatly for whom one marries, not because of the pre-determined traits of the admitted students but as a direct result of attending a particular institution at a given time.

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  • Lars Kirkebøen & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2021. "College as a Marriage Market," Discussion Papers 950, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:950
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    1. Artmann, Elisabeth & Ketel, Nadine & Oosterbeek, Hessel & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2021. "Field of study and partner choice," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    2. Lavy, V & Goldstein, Y, 2022. "Gifted Children Programs’ Short and Long-Term Impact: Higher Education, Earnings, and the Knowledge-Economy," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 609, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Lavy, Victor & Goldstein, Yoav, 2022. "Gifted Children Programs’ Short and Long-Term Impact : Higher Education, Earnings, and the Knowledge-Economy," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1396, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    assortative mating; college; educational homogamy; field of study; marriage market; search frictions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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