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

Abstract : n this paper, we extend Gary Becker's empirical analysis of the marriage market to same-sex couples. Beckers's theory rationalizes the well-known phenomenon of homogamy among heterosexual 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 homosexual couples, this limit 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 characteristics is in fact weaker among the homosexual couples. In this paper, we build an equilibrium model of the 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. Yet, contrarily to previous empirical findings, our results suggest that postitive assortative mating with respect to education is stronger on the same-sex marriage market. As regards labor market outcomes, such as hourly wages and working hours, we find that the process of specialization within the household mainly applies to heterosexual couples.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 21, 2021 - 9:49:43 PM
Last modification on : Monday, March 21, 2022 - 2:50:36 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, January 22, 2022 - 9:27:29 PM

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Edoardo Ciscato, Alfred Galichon, Marion Gousse. Like Attract Like ? A Structural Comparison of Homogamy Across Same-Sex and Different-Sex Households. 2015. ⟨hal-03393232⟩

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