Partner choice, investment in children, and the marital college premium

Pierre André Chiappori, Bernard Salanié, Yoram Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


We construct a model of household decision-making in which agents consume a private and a public good, interpreted as children's welfare. Children's utility depends on their human capital, which depends on the time their parents spend with them and on the parents' human capital. We first show that as returns to human capital increase, couples at the top of the income distribution should spend more time with their children. This in turn should reinforce assortative matching, in a sense that we precisely define. We then embed the model into a transferable utility matching framework with random preferences, à la Choo and Siow (2006), which we estimate using US marriage data for individuals born between 1943 and 1972. We find that the preference for partners of the same education has significantly increased for white individuals, particularly for the highly educated. We find no evidence of such an increase for black individuals. Moreover, in line with theoretical predictions, we find that the "marital college-plus premium" has increased for women but not for men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2109-2167
Number of pages59
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017


FundersFunder number
National Science FoundationSES-1124277


    Dive into the research topics of 'Partner choice, investment in children, and the marital college premium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this