Income Inequality and the Prevalence of Educational Assortative Marriage: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study

David B. Monaghan, City University of New York (CUNY)

Educational assortative marriage - homogamy - has long been studied, but less attention has been paid to factors which could influence its prevalence. This study investigates the thesis that educational homogamy may be more prevalent in more unequal countries, and in particular in countries in which there exists greater economic distance between stata defined by educational attainment. The prevalence of educational homogamy will be established for a sample of industrialized nations. Marriage patterns will then be related to differences in mean expected lifetime incomes for members of educational strata within countries. Preliminary analysis using a sample of nine nations provides reason to suspect that a pattern of correlation between inequality and the prevalence of marital sorting by educational strata does exist. Further analysis will investigate historical trends in both inequality and homogamy, and will attempt to indicate the direction of causality obtaining in this relationship.

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Presented in Session 192: Assortative Mating in Developed Countries