Reading 2022-03-16


Notes from reading

assortative mating: people of the same or similar education status and income level marrying each other

the power of socialization: Almost everyone at the top schools comes from more or less equally affluent families, and almost everyone adopts more or less the same values and tastes. And such mutually indistinguishable people marry each other.

It contradicted the cherished myths that we are all deeply different, unique individuals, and that personal decisions such as marriage, which have to do with love and preferences, matter a lot and have a big effect on the rest of our lives.

A recent research in 2017 tried to explain the rise of assortative mating.

It showed that the percentage of young high-earning women marrying young high-earning men increased from just under 13 percent to 26.4 percent, while the percentage of rich young women marrying poor young men halved. From having no preference between rich and poor men in the 1970s, women currently prefer rich men by a ratio of almost five to one.


There is a link between assortative mating, and increasing returns to investment in children, which only more educated couples are able to provide.

In addition, if

  • the returns to children’s early education and learning are sharply rising,
  • and these early advantages can be provided only by very educated parents, who spend much more time with their children than less educated parents,

then the road to a strong intergenerational transmission of advantages and inequality is wide open.

That's the reason why taxation of inheritance is a particularly good policy for leveling the playing field and increasing equality of opportunity. However, it is an illusion to believe that such taxation will by itself be sufficient to equalize the life chances of children born to rich and poor parents.