Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market

35 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2009

See all articles by Pierre-Andre Chiappori

Pierre-Andre Chiappori

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics

Sonia Oreffice

University of Surrey

Climent Quintana-Domeque

University of Oxford

Abstract

We construct a matching model on the marriage market along more than one characteristic, where individuals have preferences over physical attractiveness (proxied by anthropometric characteristics) and market and household productivity of potential mates (proxied by socioeconomic characteristics), with a certain degree of substitutability between them. Men and women assess each other through an index combining these various attributes, so the matching is one-dimensional. We estimate the trade-offs among these characteristics using data from the PSID and the ECHP, finding evidence of compensation between anthropometric and socioeconomic characteristics. An additional unit of husband's (wife's) BMI can be compensated by a 0.3%-increase (0.15%-increase) in husband's (wife's) average (predicted) wage. Interestingly, these findings suggest that female physical attractiveness plays a larger role in men's assessment of a woman than male physical attractiveness does for women.

Keywords: BMI, height, wages, earnings, marriage market

JEL Classification: D1, J1

Suggested Citation

Chiappori, Pierre-Andre and Oreffice, Sonia and Quintana-Domeque, Climent, Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Characteristics in the Marriage Market. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4594, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1519230 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1519230

Pierre-Andre Chiappori (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Sonia Oreffice

University of Surrey ( email )

Guildford
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/soniaoreffice/

Climent Quintana-Domeque

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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