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 endowments on marital outcomes, focusing on potential gender differences. Using a less stringent, more plausible assumption that monozygotic twins share more similar endowments relative to di-zygotic twins, we develop a novel identification strategy from the 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 income. Results cast doubt on the conventional assumption of independence between unobservables and observable marital attributes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-886
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics


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