DP13606 The Economics of Hypergamy

Author(s): Ingvild Almås, Andreas Kotsadam, Espen R Moen, Knut Røed
Publication Date: March 2019
Keyword(s): gender identity, Household specialization, Labor Supply, Marriage
JEL(s): D10, J12, J22
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13606

Partner selection is a vital feature of human behavior with important consequences for indi-viduals, families, and society. Hypergamy occurs when a husband's earning capacity system-atically exceeds that of his wife. We provide a theoretical framework that rationalizes hy-pergamy even in the absence of gender differences in the distribution of earnings capacity. Using parental earnings rank, a predetermined measure of earnings capacity that solves the simultaneity problem of matching affecting earnings outcomes, we show that hypergamy is an important feature of Norwegian mating patterns. A vignette experiment identifies gender differences in preferences that can explain the observed patterns.