Selective Marriage and Income Inequality

  • Selective Marriage and Income Inequality
    Author
    • Cézar Santos

      Associate Professor at FGV's EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance (FGV EPGE). PhD and Master's in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania. Master in Economics from FGV. Undergraduate degree in Economic Sciences from the UFPE. He was a professor at the University of Mannheim (Germany) between 2012 and 2014. His research focuses primarily on Macroeconomics, Labor Economics and Family Economics.

    • Luciene Pereira

      PhD, Master's and Undergraduate Degree in Economics from FGV's EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance (FGV EPGE). Interested in Macroeconomics and Economic Development, she is conducting research on the application of general equilibrium models and family economics to macroeconomic problems.

Summary

The purpose of the article is to investigate the evolution of the marriage market and its impact on the distribution of income in Brazil.  

From the analysis of demographic census data from 1970 to 2010, evidence was found that people have married more and more partners with similar characteristics in the last 40 years. This social phenomenon is called, in this article, the growth of selective marriage (or, also, fall in conjugal diversity).

The increase of the number of selective marriages, in principle, is not capable of adversely affecting the rent inequality. However, when some counterfactual exercises are performed, it is possible to perceive that the improvement in the distribution of income, occurred in this period,

Which could have been even greater if this trend in the marriage market had not occurred.

Individual decisions, such as marriage, divorce, fecundity and education, directly affect the demographic dynamics of a country and are related to macroeconomic variables (such as per capita income and social inequality). The interest in understanding how demographic changes and income inequality relate has been growing in the literature.