Department of Economics and Business Economics

Marriage Market Equilibrium, Qualifications, and Ability

Research output: Working paper/Preprint Working paperResearch


  • wp19_03

    Final published version, 1.05 MB, PDF document

  • Dan Anderberg, Royal Holloway, Institute for Fiscal Studies, and CESifo, United Kingdom
  • Jesper Bagger
  • V. Bhaskar, University of Texas at Austin and CEPR, United States
  • Tanya Wilson, University of Glasgow and IZA, United Kingdom
We study marital sorting on academic qualifications and latent ability in an equilibrium marriage market model using the 1972 UK Raising of the School-Leaving Age (RoSLA) legislation as a natural experiment that induced a sudden, large shift in the distribution of academic qualifications in affected cohorts, but plausibly had no impact on the distribution of ability. We show that a Choo and Siow (2006) model with sorting on cohort, qualifications, and latent ability is identified and estimable using the RoSLA-induced population shifts. We find that the RoSLA isolated low ability individuals in the marriage market, and affected marital outcomes of individuals whose qualification attainment were unaffected. We also decompose the difference in marriage probabilities between unqualified individuals and those with basic qualifications into causal effects stemming from ability and qualification differences. Differences in marriage probabilities are almost entirely driven by ability.
Original languageEnglish
Place of publicationAarhus
PublisherInstitut for Økonomi, Aarhus Universitet
Number of pages56
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019
SeriesEconomics Working Papers

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