Advanced seminar in Economics - Edwin Leuven (University of Oslo)
College as a Marriage Market
Thursday 4 April 2019 (11h00 - 12h30) - Extranef - 125
How does the choice of college eduction affect whether and whom one marries? Why are college graduates so likely to marry someone within their own institution or field of study? We answer these questions using administrative data for Norway’s post-secondary education system. A centralized admission process creates instruments for choice of college eduction from discontinuities that effectively randomize applicants near unpredictable admission cutoffs into different institutions and fields of study. Thus, differences in marriage market outcomes across these applicants are due to the institution or field to which they are exogenously assigned, as opposed to their pre-existing abilities, preferences, or family background. Our instrumental variables estimates show that the choice of institution and, to a less extent, field of study is important in explaining whom but not whether one marries. In particular, enrolling in a particular institution makes it much more likely to marry someone from that institution. These effects are especially large if individuals overlapped in college, and they are sizable even if the spouse studied a different field. By comparison, enrolling in a given field increases the chances of marrying someone within the field insofar the individuals attended the same institution. In contrast to what one would expect with large and frictionless marriage markets, the effects on the probability of marrying someone within their institution and field vary systematically with cohort-to-cohort variation in sex ratios within institutions and fields. Taken together, our findings suggest that colleges are local marriage markets which, to a large extent, determine or influences whom one marries.