Johan Almenberg - Anna Dreber
Nobility and the Marriage Market

Abstract:We examine a hitherto unexplored aspect of intergenerational transmission of economic status, namely hereditary nobility and its valuation in the marriage market. Using data on Swedish marriages 1985-2004 we test the hypothesis that nobility have a greater probability of marrying "up" in terms of wealth. Our main finding is a sizeable and statistically significant positive effect for nobility, robust to a number of model specifications. Our results indicate that preferences, and especially matepreferences, depend on both perceived status and the consumption of material goods. We find that the positive assortative mating in education, income and wealth in the Swedish marriage market has increased, whereas the relative frequency of homogamous marriages among the nobility has been steadily declining.

JEL:D31, O15, N3.
Keywords:Intergenerational transmission of Inequality.



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