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Education expansion, assortative marriage, and income inequality in China

Haifeng Nie and Chunbing Xing ()

China Economic Review, 2019, vol. 55, issue C, 37-51

Abstract: In this paper, we study the pattern of assortative marriage in China since 1990 and its impact on income inequality. The results indicate that men in China are increasingly likely to marry women of similar education levels. We calculate the counterfactual income inequality that would prevail if marriages were randomly matched in terms of education. In 2005, China's overall Gini coefficient of household income per capita would decline from 0.512 to 0.476 if marriages were randomly matched. In urban areas, assortative marriage in education increased the Gini coefficients from 0.321 to 0.338 in 2009. The decomposition exercise shows that the rising returns to education contribute most to the increase in income inequality in urban areas between 1990 and 2009, while the change in marriage assortativeness plays a minor role.

Keywords: Education expansion; Assortative marriage; Income inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 I24 O15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: Education Expansion, Assortative Marriage, and Income Inequality in China (2018) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2019.03.007

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China Economic Review is currently edited by B.M. Fleisher, K. X. D. Huang, M.E. Lovely, Y. Wen, X. Zhang and X. Zhu

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