Educational Homogamy Across Generations: Effects on Inequalities in Living Standards in France

Pierre COURTIOUX, Vincent Lignon

It is recognized that educational homogamy—the tendency for individuals to partner with someone with the same level of education—reinforces socio-economic inequalities within the population. However, published analyses generally exclude some of the oldest individuals to avoid generational bias. As such, the indicators produced are not directly comparable with the usual indicators of living standard inequalities calculated for the general population. This article proposes an original method for controlling for this generational bias in order to quantify the share of inequalities attributable to educational homogamy in the general population. Using logistic models of spousal matching probabilities by educational qualification, changes in education levels across generations are closely examined, as well as their role in the inequalities associated with educational homogamy. The results obtained from French data for the 2003–2013 period reveal that the impact of
educational homogamy on inequalities in living standards is statistically significant but very slight. It affects primarily the top of the living standards distribution and can only be demonstrated by controlling for generational effects.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
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