Working Paper

Marriage Market Sorting in the U.S.

Abstract: We study the multidimensional sorting of males and females in the U.S. marriage market over the past decade using a model of targeted search. We find strong vertical sorting on income and education, and horizontal sorting on race. We find that women put significant effort into targeting men at the top of the desirability scale, while men put less effort and target women with similar characteristics. We find no improvement in quality of matching and no noticeable changes in sorting patterns or individual search behavior, despite rapid improvement in search technology. Finally, we find that targeted search substantially reduces income inequality across married couples, even when compared with random matching, by producing a large number of matches between low income and high income individuals.

Keywords: marriage market; income; education; race;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Working Papers

Publication Date: 2023-09

Number: 2023-023