DP5099 Education, Matching and the Allocative Value of Romance

Author(s): Alison L Booth, Melvyn G Coles
Publication Date: June 2005
Keyword(s): cohabitation, education, marriage, matching, participation
JEL(s): I21, J12, J16, J41
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5099

Societies are characterized by customs governing the allocation of non-market goods such as marital partnerships. We explore how such customs affect the educational investment decisions of young singles and the subsequent joint labour supply decisions of partnered couples. We consider two separate matching paradigms for agents with heterogeneous abilities - one where partners marry for money and the other where partners marry for romantic reasons orthogonal to productivity or debt. These generate different investment incentives and therefore have a real impact on the market economy. While marrying for money generates greater investment efficiency, romantic matching generates greater allocative efficiency, since more high ability individuals participate in the labour market. The analysis offers the possibility of explaining cross-country differences in educational investments and labour force participation based on matching regimes.