NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Alexandra Killewald

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January 2011Marital Sorting and Parental Wealth
with Kerwin Kofi Charles, Erik Hurst: w16748
Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), this paper studies the degree to which spouses sort in the marriage market on the basis of parental wealth. We estimate a variety of models, including transition matrices, OLS and TSLS models to deal with measurement error in wealth reports. Our various results show that men and women in the U.S. marry spouses whose parents have wealth similar to that of their own parents; and are very unlikely to marry persons from very different parental wealth backgrounds. This effect is present in the population as a whole, within racial groups, and especially in the tails of the distribution. Our preferred estimates indicate that the correlation in log wealth between own and spouse’s parents wealth is around 0.4. We show that education acco...

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