NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Marrying Your Mom: Preference Transmission and Women's Labor and Education Choices

Raquel Fernandez, Alessandra Fogli, Claudia Olivetti

NBER Working Paper No. 9234
Issued in September 2002
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS   ED

This paper argues that the evolution of male preferences contributed to the dramatic increase in the proportion of working and educated women in the population over time. Male preferences evolved because some men experienced a different family model one in which their mother was skilled and/or worked. These men, we hypothesize, were more inclined to marry women who themselves were skilled or worked. Our model endogenizes the evolution of preferences in a dynamic setting and examines how it affected women's education and labor choices. We present empirical evidence based on GSS data that favors our transmission mechanism. We show that men whose mothers were more educated or worked are more likely to marry similar women themselves.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9234

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