Fatter Attraction: Anthropometric and Socioeconomic Matching on the Marriage Market

November 2011
Pierre-André Chiappori, Sonia Oreffice, Climent Quintana-Domeque

We construct a matching model on the marriage market along more than one characteristic, where individuals have preferences over physical attractiveness and socioeconomic characteristics that can be summarized by a one-dimensional index combining these various attributes. We show that under a (testable) separability assumption, the indices are ordinally identified. We estimate the model using data from the PSID. Our separability tests do not reject. We find that among men, a 10% increase in BMI can be compensated by a higher wage of around 3%. Similarly, for women, an additional year of education may compensate up to three BMI units.