Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #346

The Dynamics of Assortative Mating in Germany

by Barbara S. Grave and Christoph M. Schmidt

RWI, RUB, 06/2012, 23 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-404-4 DOI: 10.4419/86788404



This paper examines the patterns of educational assortative mating in East and West Germany. In the literature it is well known that individuals do not mate randomly with respect to social and cultural traits, and that highly assortative mating can lead to polarization and exacerbate economic inequality. For Germany, little is known about actual patterns of marriage formation along educational lines. Our empirical analysis for Germany shows that educational assortative mating has increased significantly for East and West Germany during the last 15 and 30 years, respectively. To control for secular increases in educational attainment we apply different log-linear methods, leading to the conclusion that the observed changes in assortative mating in East and West Germany might be explained by changes in partner preferences. Especially within the group of low educated persons, the preferences for a homogamous partnership seems to have increased over time.

JEL-Classification: I20, J12

Keywords: Assortative marriage; Microcensus; education; log-linear models