Marital Sorting and Inequality: How Educational Categorization Matters

Frederik Almar Jensen, Benjamin Friedrich, Ana Reynoso, Bastian Schulz, Rune Majlund Vejlin

Research output: Working paper/Preprint Working paperResearch


This paper revisits the link between education-based marriage market sorting and income inequality. Leveraging Danish administrative data, we develop a novel categorization of marriage market types based on the starting wages and wage growth trajectories associated with educational programs: ambition types. We find a substantial increase in sorting by educational ambition over time, which explains more than 40% of increasing inequality since 1980. In contrast, sorting trends are flat with the commonly used level of education. Hence, the mapping between education and marriage-market types matters crucially for conclusions about the role of marital sorting in rising income inequality.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherIZA Institute of Labor Economics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
SeriesIZA Discussion Paper


  • Marital Sorting
  • Inequality
  • Education


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