Assortative Mating on Education: A Genetic Assessment

51 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Nicola Barban

Nicola Barban

University of Bologna; University of Essex

Elisabetta De Cao

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics; IZA

Sonia Oreffice

University of Surrey

Climent Quintana-Domeque

University of Oxford

Abstract

We investigate assortative mating on education using a sample of couples from the Health and Retirement Study. We estimate a reduced-form linear matching function, which links wife's education to husband's education and both wife's and husband's unobservable characteristics. Using OLS we find that an additional year in husband's education is associated with an average increase in wife's education of 0.4 years. To deal with omitted variable bias due to unobservable characteristics, we use a measure of genetic propensity (polygenic score) for husband's education as an instrumental variable. Assuming that our instrument is valid, our 2SLS estimate suggests that an additional year in husband's education increases wife's education by about 0.5 years. Since greater genetic propensity for educational attainment has been linked to a range of personality and cognitive skills, we allow for the possibility that the exclusion restriction is violated using the plausible exogenous approach by Conley et al. (2012). 'True' assortativeness on education cannot be ruled out, as long as one standard deviation increase in husband's genetic propensity for education directly increases wife's education by less than 0.2 years.

Keywords: education, genetic scores, instrumental variables, plausibly exogenous, HRS

JEL Classification: C36, D1, J1, J12

Suggested Citation

Barban, Nicola and De Cao, Elisabetta and Oreffice, Sonia and Quintana-Domeque, Climent, Assortative Mating on Education: A Genetic Assessment. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12563, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445829 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3445829

Nicola Barban (Contact Author)

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

University of Essex

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester, CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Elisabetta De Cao

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - London School of Economics ( email )

IZA ( email )

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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