Education and marriage: theory and evidence

Publication type

Conference Paper


BHPS-2009 Conference: the 2009 British Household Panel Survey Research Conference, 9-11 July 2009, Colchester, UK


Publication date

June 1, 2009


This paper is concerned with the relation between marriage and higher education. We
build up a model with educational assortative matching where individuals decide
whether to acquire higher education both for obtaining educational surplus and for
increasing the probability to be matched with an educated partner. Education can be
either asymmetric or symmetric between genders. The educational choices between
future partners are simultaneously determined as a Nash equilibrium. The results for
asymmetric education suggest that, as assortative matching increases, the proportion of
educated men increases, and their educational surplus falls. On the other side, the
proportion of educated women diminishes and their educational surplus increases. In the
case with symmetric education, the educational benefit falls as assortative matching
increases, regardless the gender. We test our model using the British Household Panel
Survey. Our results are consistent with the theoretical assumption of educational
assortative matching. Even if the proportion of educated men is slightly higher than the
proportion of educated women, the educational surplus is lower as the educational
qualification increases for both men and women, as suggested by the symmetric
education hypothesis.






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