Discussion paper

DP14547 Educational Inequality, Assortative Mating and Women Empowerement

Using PISA data for all waves and countries, it is shown that family cultural and economic background has bigger influence than school characteristics and quality on adolescents’ math, reading and science scores. Women education, a proxy for women empowerment, has an added and increasing effect, when controlling for assortative mating. Their added value peaks at intermediate levels of education, but declines afterwards, when controlling for educational homogamy. A model with households’ collective bargaining, warm glow preferences and human capital accumulation can rationalize the evidence. Through the lens of the model, mothers’ higher impact is due either to higher devotion to child-rearing, which increases in presence of a gender wage gap, or to a within-household bargaining that raises in education, or else the empowerment externality.


Faia, E (2020), “DP14547 Educational Inequality, Assortative Mating and Women Empowerement”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 14547. https://cepr.org/publications/dp14547