Assortative Mating and Income Inequality

In his book Coming Apart, political/social scientist Charles Murray examined the divorce rates among both the working class (“Fishtown”) and professional (“Belmont”) whites.[ref]For a summary of Murray’s findings, see his Wall Street Journal article “The New American Divide.”[/ref]

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Not only is the educated, professional class staying married, they are marrying each other. A new NBER paper “Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality” finds that this factor has a major impact on income inequality (see my previous “Inequality and Demographics“).[ref]I imagine the clustering of like-minded people described in The Big Sort also has an impact on marriage outcomes.[/ref]

Once again, family factors help explain much of the income inequality we see today.