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Marriage Strategy Among the European Nobility

Stefania Marcassa (), Jerome Pouyet and Thomas Trégouët ()
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Thomas Trégouët: Université de Cergy-Pontoise THEMA

No 2018-053, Working Papers from Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group

Abstract: We use a unique dataset to analyze marriage and union patterns of the European nobility from the 1500s to the 1800s. Historical evidence shows that: nobles tended to marry nobles with identical title; and, German marriages, whose dowry rules were more rigid, were characterized by a higher degree of homogamy in titles than English marriages. Moreover, we show that German data exhibit lower odds of intermarriage than English among high ranked titles, and hence provide evidence of a more stratified society. We propose a matching model that rationalizes our empirical findings: it predicts homogamy in title, and that more stringent constraints on the dowries lead to a higher degree of homogamy.

Keywords: Marriage; nobility; class; elite; history; assortative matching (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C78 J12 J16 N34 Z10 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gth and nep-his
Date: 2018-08
Note: FI
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