DP2352 Sorting and Long-Run Inequality

Author(s): Raquel Fernández, Richard Rogerson
Publication Date: January 2000
Keyword(s): Fertility, Inequality, Marriage, Sorting
JEL(s): D30, I20, J11
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics, Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2352

Many social commentators have raised concerns over the possibility that increased sorting in a society can lead to greater inequality. To investigate this we construct a dynamic model of intergenerational education acquisition, fertility, and marital sorting and parameterize the steady state to match several basic empirical findings. Contrary to Kremer's (1997) finding of a basically insignificant effect of marital sorting on inequality, we find that increased marital sorting will significantly increase income inequality. Three factors are central to our findings: a negative correlation between fertility and education, a decreasing marginal effect of parental education on children's years of education, and wages that are sensitive to the relative supply of skilled workers.