Mating Market and Educational Assortative Mating in a Life Course Perspective

Giulia Corti, University of Bologna
Stefani Scherer , University of Trento

Social scientists have long asked to what extent the structural composition of the population shapes patterns of couple formation (Goldman, Westoff, & Hammerslough, 1984; Kalmijn, 1998; Schoen, 1983; De Hauw, Piazza, & Van Bavel, 2014) . Nowadays, the occurrence of the reversed gender gap in education (Esteve, García-Román, & Permanyer, 2012; Esteve, Schwartz, Van Bavel, & Garcia, 2016) is posing some new questions both on the existence and effect of a new education-specific mating squeeze and its measurement over the life course. The aim of the paper is to investigate if and to what extent an education-specific mating squeeze has an impact on selection into couple and on patterns of educational assortative mating over the life course in Germany. Individual partnership trajectories are reconstructed with G-SOEP data, whereas the mating market measure is built with Microcensus data for the years 1985-2014. Preliminary results of discrete-time hazard models for two groups – low educated men and high-educated women – show that younger cohorts have a lower likelihood of union formation and homogamy, even though the mating market does not fully explain these differences. However, partner market has important effects on mating patterns over the life-course. The higher the advantage of women in higher education, the greater its positive association with singlehood across age, whereas it has been found a negative association with the likelihood of forming an homogamous union, that increases with age as well.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course