Optimizing the Marriage Market Through the Reallocation of Partners: An Application of the Linear Assignment Model
25 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2008
Date Written: March 2008
Research shows that success of marriages and other intimate partnerships depend on objective attributes such as differences of age, cultural background or educational levels between partners. This article proposes a mathematical approach of marriage which intends to optimally allocate spouses in order to reduce the likelihood of divorce within the set of structural constraints defining a marriage market. Based on a representative and longitudinal sample of 1074 cohabitating and married couples living in Switzerland, we estimate various objective functions corresponding to age, education, ethnicity and previous divorce experience concerning every possible combination of men and women. Our results show that the current state of marriages or partnerships is well below the social optimum. About 7 individuals over 10 (68%) are reallocated to a couple with a higher chance of survival than the actual couple that they belong to. This reallocation leads the initial non optimal situations to the final optimal situations with a reduction of the objective function by 21% of its initial value.
Keywords: Marriage, partnership, divorce, swiss couples study
JEL Classification: C6, J12
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