Like Attract Like? A Structural Comparison of Homogamy Across Same-Sex and Different-Sex Households

48 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2014 Last revised: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Edoardo Ciscato

Edoardo Ciscato

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), Department of Economics, Students

Alfred Galichon

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute

Marion Gousse

Université Laval

Date Written: August 1, 2018

Abstract

In this paper, we extend Gary Becker's empirical analysis of the marriage market to same-sex couples. Becker's theory rationalizes the well-known phenomenon of homogamy among different-sex couples: individuals mate with their likes because many characteristics, such as education, consumption behaviour, desire to nurture children, religion, etc., exhibit strong complementarities in the household production function. However, because of asymmetries in the distributions of male and female characteristics, men and women may need to marry ''up'' or ''down'' according to the relative shortage of their characteristics among the populations of men and women. Yet, among same-sex couples, this limitation does not exist as partners are drawn from the same population, and thus the theory of assortative mating would boldly predict that individuals will choose a partner with nearly identical characteristics. Empirical evidence suggests a very different picture: a robust stylized fact is that the correlation of the characteristics is in fact weaker among same-sex couples. In this paper, we build an equilibrium model of same-sex marriage market which allows for straightforward identification of the gains to marriage. We estimate the model with 2008-2012 ACS data on California and show that positive assortative mating is weaker for homosexuals than for heterosexuals with respect to age and race. Our results suggest that positive assortative mating with respect to education is stronger among lesbians, and not significantly different when comparing gay men and married different-sex couples. As regards labor market outcomes, such as hourly wages and working hours, we find some indications that the process of specialization within the household mainly applies to different-sex couples.

Keywords: sorting, matching, marriage market, homogamy, same-sex households, roommate problem

JEL Classification: D1, C51, J12, J15

Suggested Citation

Ciscato, Edoardo and Galichon, Alfred and Gousse, Marion, Like Attract Like? A Structural Comparison of Homogamy Across Same-Sex and Different-Sex Households (August 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2530724 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2530724

Edoardo Ciscato

Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), Department of Economics, Students ( email )

28 rue des Saints Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Alfred Galichon (Contact Author)

NYU, Department of Economics and Courant Institute ( email )

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

Marion Gousse

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
404
Abstract Views
1,958
rank
71,914
PlumX Metrics