Field of study, partner choice, and other family outcomes

Elisabeth Artmann and Nadine Ketel and Hessel Oosterbeek and Bas van der Klaauw

There is strong assortative mating by field of study. To examine whether this is solely due to self selection or also reflects a causal effect of access to specific "marriage" markets, we use data from participants in admission lotteries of four oversubscribed studies in the Netherlands. For each of the four studies, we find that the winners of an admission lottery are significantly more likely than the lottery losers to have a partner who studied in the field of the lottery. This indicates that assortative mating by field of study is at least partially due to market access. There is no strong evidence for effects on subsequent fertility and children’s academic achievement.

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