American Economic Review: Vol. 104 No. 5 (May 2014)

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Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality

Article Citation

Greenwood, Jeremy, Nezih Guner, Georgi Kocharkov, and Cezar Santos. 2014. "Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality." American Economic Review, 104(5): 348-53.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.5.348

Abstract

Has there been an increase in positive assortative mating? Does assortative mating contribute to household income inequality? Data from the United States Census Bureau suggests there has been a rise in assortative mating. Additionally, assortative mating affects household income inequality. In particular, if matching in 2005 between husbands and wives had been random, instead of the pattern observed in the data, then the Gini coefficient would have fallen from the observed 0.43 to 0.34, so that income inequality would be smaller. Thus, assortative mating is important for income inequality. The high level of married female labor-force participation in 2005 is important for this result.

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Download Data Set (293.59 KB) | Online Appendix (58.44 KB) | Author Disclosure Statement(s) (161.46 KB)

Authors

Greenwood, Jeremy (U PA)
Guner, Nezih (MOVE, Bellaterra)
Kocharkov, Georgi (U Konstanz)
Santos, Cezar (U Mannheim)

JEL Classifications

D31: Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse


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