Educational homophily and educational homogamy: the impact of maternal role models on their daughters’ cohabitation and marriages

Gwendolin Blossfeld, Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories (LIfBi), Bamberg

In this paper, we analyze the effects of mothers’ mating on daughters’ educational assortative mating with regard to entry into first marriages and first cohabitations for both East and West German women. Using the life course data from the German National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) , we studied women’s entry into a first union as competing risks with event history models (upword, homophilious and upward cohabitation as well as downward, homogamous and upward marriage). Previous research has shown that family roles are transmitted from parents to children. Mothers who have chosen a partner with a lower educational attainment level do not behave according to the ‘stereotypes’ in traditional ‘male-breadwinner’ societies. Because the mothers act as role models for their children, this occurrence increases the likelihood that their daughters will adopt a similar role as their mothers within their own partnership. Our analysis of the NEPS data shows that the maternal role model has an influence on the daughter’s educational assortative mating. Mothers with a less educated partner have daughters that are also more likely to cohabit with a less educated partner. In contrast, mothers in a more traditional union, in which the father has a higher education than the mother, also have significantly more often daughters who marry a more educated partner.

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 Presented in Session 8. Assortative mating