Marriage Market and Intergenerational Effects of Elite Higher Education: Evidence from Chile

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 14.07.2015, 12:15 - 13:30


Presentation by 

Katja Maria Kaufmann (University of Mannheim)


We use administrative records on university applicants and their spouses and children to estimate the marriage market and intergenerational effects of being admitted to a more elite university. We exploit unique features of the Chilean university admission system which centrally allocates applicants based on their university entrance score to identify causal effects using a regression discontinuity design. Moreover, the Chilean context provides us with the necessary (administrative) data on long run marriage and fertility decisions as well with suitable measures of spouse and child quality. While the admission to a more elite university does not affect the likelihood of marriage or of having a child, we find substantial effects on the quality of applicants’ spouses and children. Women who are admitted to a higher ranked university have husbands who perform 0.15 standard deviations better on the admission test and are 8 p.p. more likely to have been admitted to a top university. We do not find effects on spouse quality for men. In terms of child outcomes, on the other hand, we find important effects on children for both men and women, i.e. their children perform 0.1 standard deviations better on a national standardized test. Analyzing possible channels by making use of additional data on child investment, our results suggest important resource effects for men driving the intergenerational effects, while for women results are consistent with genetic endowment effects via a smarter spouse.

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