Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Umeå Economic Studies,
Umeå University, Department of Economics

No 881: Back to the Future: Migration, Matching and the Power Couple Phenomenon in Sweden

Sofia Tano (), Olle Westerlund (), Robert Nakosteen () and Michael Zimmer ()
Additional contact information
Sofia Tano: Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Postal: Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Olle Westerlund: Department of Economics, Umeå School of Business and Economics, Postal: Umeå University, S 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Robert Nakosteen: University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA
Michael Zimmer: University of Evansville, USA

Abstract: This paper contributes to a recent and growing literature addressing the phenomenon of high-credentialed power couples. It seeks to determine the extent to which precursors of power couple formation and location choice of couples at midlife are evident in young people during their formative school years. Its second objective is to extend the analysis of location choice by modeling location choice among different sizes of labor market areas, given different power status of the couples. Based on analysis of Swedish register data, we produce evidence that power spouses evolve from the population of high achieving school age individuals, the latter identified by high academic performance during the years of compulsory schooling. Other factors such as parental education and family income also play a role. In addition, there appear to be regional disparities in the evolution of power couples. The evidence also points to the presence self-selection arising from unmeasured heterogeneity, both in spouse matching and to a lesser extent in location choice. Regarding location choice, the results indicate that power couples display a disproportionate tendency to migrate from their regions of origin to large cities.

Keywords: Early markers; education; location choice; marital matching

JEL-codes: I21; J12; J24

28 pages, February 27, 2014

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