Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 728:
Lady and the Trump: Status and Wealth in the Marriage Market

Johan Almenberg () and Anna Dreber ()

Abstract: We examine a hitherto unexplored aspect of intergenerational transmission of economic standing, namely culturally determined status markers and their valuation in the marriage market. We take nobility to be such a status marker. We propose a two-trait extension of the optimal sorting model in Becker (1973). Using data on Swedish marriages we test the hypothesis that nobility have a greater probability of marrying up in terms of wealth. Our main finding is a sizeable and statistically significant positive effect for nobility. We use unique data on the evolution of nobility to make some predictions about the longevity of this institution.

Keywords: Marriage; Status; Intergenerational Transmission; Nobility; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D13; D20; J11; J12; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, January 15, 2008, Revised July 10, 2008

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This paper is forthcoming as:
Almenberg, Johan and Anna Dreber, 'Lady and the Trump: Status and Wealth in the Marriage Market', Kyklos.

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