Unobserved endowments and gender differences in marriage matching

Wenchao Li, Xuyan Lou, Junjian Yi, Junsen Zhang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


This study investigates the effects of unobserved earnings-related endow-ments on marital outcomes, focusing on potential gender differences. On the basis of a less stringent, more plausible assumption that monozygotic twins share more similar endowments relative to dizygotic twins, we develop a novel identification strategy from twins experiment. Using unique Chinese twins survey data, we find that men with genetic endowments related to higher earnings marry earlier and have younger, taller wives; such women marry later and have older husbands with higher education and in-come. Results cast doubt on the conventional assumption of independence between unobservables and observable marital attributes.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • gender differences
  • marriage matching


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