Personality Traits and the Marriage Market

43 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2012

See all articles by Arnaud Dupuy

Arnaud Dupuy

Centre de Recherche en Économie Appliquée (CREA)

Alfred Galichon

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute


Which and how many attributes are relevant for the sorting of agents in a matching market? This paper addresses these questions by constructing indices of mutual attractiveness that aggregate information about agents' attributes. The first k indices for agents on each side of the market provide the best approximation of the matching surplus by a k-dimensional model. The methodology is applied on a unique Dutch household survey containing information about education, height, BMI, health, attitude towards risk and personality traits of spouses. Three important empirical conclusions are drawn. First, sorting in the marriage market is not unidimensional: individuals face important trade-offs between the attributes of their spouses which are not amenable to a single-dimensional index. Second, although education explains a quarter of a couple's observable surplus, personality traits explain another 20%. Third, different personality traits matter differently for men and for women.

Keywords: multidimensional sorting, saliency analysis, marriage market, personality traits, continuous logit

JEL Classification: D3, J21, J23, J31

Suggested Citation

Dupuy, Arnaud and Galichon, Alfred, Personality Traits and the Marriage Market. IZA Discussion Paper No. 6943, Available at SSRN: or

Arnaud Dupuy (Contact Author)

Centre de Recherche en Économie Appliquée (CREA) ( email )

Campus Limpertsberg
162A, avenue de la Faïencerie
Luxembourg, 1511

Alfred Galichon

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute ( email )

269 Mercer Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10011
United States

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