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Assortative Mating and Inequality

  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Jonas Vlachos (Stockholm University, Sweden)
  • Field
    Empirical Microeconomics
  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, room 1.01
  • Date and time

    May 07, 2019
    16:00 - 17:15

We analyze mating patterns, their changes, and their consequences for both current and future inequality using continuous and time-consistent measures of productive abilities for 40 cohorts with completed fertility. We find a pattern of decreased selectivity in the mating market for the first 20 cohorts while selectivity increases thereafter. These patterns are consistent for both the extensive (the probability of having any children) and the intensive (assortative mating) margins. This nuances the picture from work on data on educational attainment. The contribution of these changes to overall household inequality in productive abilities is small, however. Our estimates show that productive abilities are transmitted to the same extent from mothers and fathers. Parental abilities are found to be substitutes rather than complements in the production of child abilities, which tends to mute the impact of assortative mating on the ability distribution among children.

Joint with Erik Grönqvist (Uppsala University and IFAU) and Björn Öckert (Uppsala University and IFAU).