Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching

44 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2008 Last revised: 18 Nov 2009

See all articles by Ran Abramitzky

Ran Abramitzky

Stanford University - Department of Economics

Adeline Delavande

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia

Luis I. Vasconcelos

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 1, 2009

Abstract

We test the effect of a change in the sex ratio on marital assortative matching by social class using a large negative exogenous shock to the French male population due to WWI casualties. We analyze a novel data set that links marriage-level data to both French censuses of population and regional data on military mortality. We instrument the sex ratio in a region with military mortality, which exhibits exogenous geographic variation. We find that men married women of higher social class than themselves (married up) more in regions that experienced larger decreases in the sex ratio. A decrease in the sex ratio from one man for every woman to 0.90 men for every woman increased the probability that men married up by 8 percentage points. These findings shed light on individuals’ preferences for spouses. Rather than preferring to marry spouses from the same social class, men seem to prefer to marry higher-class spouses, but cannot do so when the sex ratio is balanced.

Keywords: Marriage, sex ratio, assortative matching, social classes

JEL Classification: J12, N34

Suggested Citation

Abramitzky, Ran and Delavande, Adeline and Vasconcelos, Luis I., Marrying Up: The Role of Sex Ratio in Assortative Matching (November 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1233882 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1233882

Ran Abramitzky (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Adeline Delavande

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal
+35 1 21 380 16 00 (Phone)
+35 1 21 387 09 33 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://docentes.fe.unl.pt/~adeline/page2.html

Luis I. Vasconcelos

New University of Lisbon - Faculdade de Economia ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisboa, 1099-032
Portugal
+35121380172 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://docentes.fe.unl.pt/~lipv064/

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
122
Abstract Views
1,155
rank
201,133
PlumX Metrics