Educational institutions as mating markets

Juho Härkönen, Stockholm University
Margarita Chudnovskaya, Stockholm University

Educational institutions are important settings in which future partners meet and where inequalities in the current and next generation formed. Yet there is little research on educational institutions as mating markets, partly due to limitations with existing data. In this study, we use population register data to follow the educational histories of an entire birth cohort of Swedes, born in 1970. We are able to identify the educational institutions the members of this cohort attended, and assess whether their partners overlapped in these institutions. We focus on high schools (Gymnasium) and universities. As the outcome, we focus on first births and analyze assortative mating through the characteristics of the parents. We estimate which share of our cohort members overlapped with (“met”) their partner in high school or university and use contextual level information on the structure and social compositions of the high schools and universities attended to analyze the probability of meeting one’s partner in these institutions, and on the probability of assortative mating according to age, ethnicity, and class background. Our preliminary results suggest that up to 40 % of tertiary educationally homogamous couples have met in university, and that the social and demographic compositions of both high schools and universities shape meeting chances and mating along demographic and social lines.

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Presented in Session 65: Assortative mating, marriage and divorce

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