A DIRECT TEST OF THE EFFICIENT MARRIAGE MARKET HYPOTHESIS

Authors

  • Wing Suen,

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  • Hon-Kwong Lui

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    • *We thank Dr. Ira Hammerman for helping us locate a computer algorithm that solves the optimal assignment problem. Seminar participants at the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Simon Fraser University, the University of Washington, the Western Economic Association International Conference, and the Australasian Meeting of Econometric Society offered many useful comments. We are particularly indebted to Doug Allen, Yoram Barzel, William Chan, Rick Harris, Bob Pollak, Gene Silberberg and Alan Siu for their helpful advice.


1 Senior Lecturer, School of Economics and Finance, The University of Hong Kong, Phone 852–2859-1052, Fax 852–2548-1152, E-mail Hrneswc@hkusua.hku.hk

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and International Businsess, Lingnan College, Hong Kong, Phone 852–2616-8233, Fax 852–2467-3049 E-mail Hklui@ln.edu.hk

Abstract

This paper takes Becker's efficient marriage market hypothesis at face value, and directly confronts it with data from Hong Kong. The theory of optimal assignment is used to develop an empirical model of spouse selection, which resembles a Tobit model. This model can address positive or negative assortative matching as well as marginal product pricing in marriage markets. We also use a computer algorithm to solve the assignment problem for imputed marital output. The degree to which the actual pairing of husbands and wives corresponds to the optimal pairing provides a goodness-of-fit test of the efficient marriage market hypothesis. (JEL C51, C61, C78, J12)

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