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

Abstract : In this paper, we extend the marriage market theory of Gary Becker to same-sex couples. Beckers's theory rationalizes the well-known phenomenon of homogamy among heterosexual couples: individuals mate with their likes because of complementarities in the household production function. However, asymmetries in the distributions of male and female characteristics set theoretical limits to assortativeness among heterosexual couples: men and women have 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 boldly predicts 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 recent ACS data on California and show that preferences for similar partners are much less relevant for homosexuals than for heterosexuals with respect to age, education and race. As regards labor market outcomes such as hourly wages and working hours, our results highlight that the process of specialization within the household mainly applies to heterosexual couples. Finally, we discuss a number of interesting estimated interactions, like the one between education and wage, and the one between education and Hispanic origins.
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https://hal-sciencespo.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03429892
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Submitted on : Tuesday, November 16, 2021 - 4:14:20 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 25, 2022 - 3:57:44 AM

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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. {date}. ⟨hal-03429892⟩

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