Is the end of female educational hypergamy the end of hypergamy?

Margarita Chudnovskaya, Stockholm University
Ridhi Kashyap, University of Oxford and Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

Women have historically had the tendency to “partner up” by choosing a partner with higher socio-economic standing than themselves. One important facet of this hypergamy has been in education—women typically chose partners with higher education than themselves. The expansion of higher education since the 1950s has transformed societies and women are now over-represented in higher education in most OECD countries (Schofer and Meyer 2005). Women are also increasingly partnering with men who have less education than themselves. In this paper we use high-quality Swedish register data to examine the relative status of men and women in hypogamous unions using three different status indicators: social class of origin, income, and occupational prestige. We examine women born in 1940, 1950, 1960, and 1970 who achieve a post-secondary degree before entering childbearing unions with partners who have less education. We find that in some status measures, women have higher status, but that women typically have lower occupational prestige than their lower educated partners.

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 Presented in Session 8. Assortative mating