Advertisement

Explaining the Flight of Cupid’s Arrow: A Spatial Random Utility Model of Partner Choice

Pour expliquer le vol de la flèche de Cupidon: un modèle d’utilité aléatoire du choix du partenaire
  • Karen Haandrikman
  • Leo J. G. van Wissen
Article

Abstract

Spatial homogamy may be defined as follows: anyone may be attracted to anyone else, but near candidates are more attractive than distant candidates. In this article, we propose a model of partner choice, where homogamy is defined in terms of spatial, demographic, socioeconomic and cultural similarity. A spatial choice model using random utility theory is formulated, taking into account a relaxation of the independence from the irrelevant alternatives property, as spatial alternatives are not independent of one another. We model partner choice given the characteristics of the chosen partner and a choice set of alternatives, using unique micro data on all new cohabiters in the Netherlands, linked to other relevant data sets. The model takes the spatial locations of potential candidates within a choice set into account, including an indicator for the spatial similarity between alternatives. We find that spatial homogamy is a vital component of partner matching, aside from and adding to the spatial effects in demographic, socioeconomic and cultural homogamy. Given a choice set of partners, the highest likelihood of a match occurs with a person who is born and lives near by, who is close in age, is in the same life stage and has the same marital status, who has the same educational and income level and the same labour market status, who speaks the same dialect and lives in a culturally similar residential area. The distance effect is most pronounced for those individuals with lower levels of education and those living in rural areas.

Keywords

Spatial choice Spatial homogamy Random utility Register data The Netherlands 

Résumé

L’homogamie spatiale peut être définie de la manière suivante : n’importe quelle personne peut être attirée par une autre, mais les candidats les plus proches sont plus attractifs que les candidats plus lointains. Dans cet article, un modèle du choix du partenaire est proposé, dans lequel l’homogamie est définie en termes de similarités spatiale, démographique, socio-économique et culturelle. Un modèle spatial de choix basé sur la théorie de l’utilité aléatoire est proposé, tenant compte d’un assouplissement de l’indépendance par rapport aux alternatives non pertinentes puisque les alternatives spatiales ne sont pas indépendantes l’une de l’autre. Le choix du partenaire est modélisé en tenant compte des caractéristiques du partenaire choisi et d’un ensemble d’alternatives de choix, en utilisant une base de données individuelles concernant tous les nouveaux cohabitants aux Pays-Bas appariée à d’autres bases de données pertinentes. Le modèle considère les localisations spatiales des partenaires potentiels parmi les alternatives de choix à prendre en compte, en incluant un indicateur de similitude spatiale entre les alternatives. Les résultats montrent que l’homogamie spatiale est une composante fondamentale de la recherche de partenaire s’ajoutant à l’impact spatial de l’homogamie démographique, socio-économique et culturelle. Etant donné un choix de partenaires, le partenaire qui aura la probabilité la plus élevée d’être choisi est celui qui est né et vit à proximité, ayant un âge semblable, qui se trouve dans la même étape du cycle de vie et qui a le même statut matrimonial, qui a les mêmes niveaux d’instruction, de revenus et de statut sur le marché du travail, qui parle la même langue et qui vit dans une zone résidentielle culturellement semblable. L’effet de la distance est encore plus accentué pour les individus ayant un faible niveau d’instruction et pour ceux vivant en zone rurale.

Mots-clés

Choix spatial Homogamie spatiale Utilité aléatoire Données de registre Pays-Bas 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The major part of this work was conducted while the first author was at the Population Research Centre of the University of Groningen. The authors gratefully acknowledge the funding from the Stockholm University SIMSAM Node for Demographic Research in the person of Gunnar Andersson for the final phase of the project. We thank the reviewers and the editor of EJP for helpful comments.

References

  1. Becker, G. S. (1973). A theory of marriage: Part I. The Journal of Political Economy, 81(4), 813–846.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, G. S. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Beekink, E., Liefbroer, A. C., & Van Poppel, F. W. A. (1998). Changes in choice of spouse as an indicator of a society in a state of transition: Woerden, 1830–1930. Historical Social Research, 23(1/2), 231–253.Google Scholar
  4. Burdett, K., & Coles, M. G. (1997). Marriage and class. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112, 141–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Clegg, E. J., Ringrose, T. J., & Cross, J. F. (1998). Some factors affecting marital distances in the Outer Hebrides. Journal of Biosocial Science, 30(1), 43–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Coleman, D. A. (1979). A study of the spatial aspects of partner choice from a human biological viewpoint. Man NS, 14(3), 414–435.Google Scholar
  7. Coleman, D. A., & Haskey, J. C. (1986). Marital distance and its geographical orientation in England and Wales, 1979. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 11, 337–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daan, J., & Blok, D. P. (1969). Van Randstad tot Landrand; toelichting bij de kaart: Dialecten en Naamkunde, volume XXXVII of Bijdragen en mededelingen der Dialektencommissie van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen te Amsterdam. Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers Maatschappij.Google Scholar
  9. De Graaf, N. D., Smeenk, W., Ultee, W., & Timm, A. (2003). The when and whom of first marriage in the Netherlands. In H. P. Blossfeld, & A. Timm (Eds.), Who marries whom? Educational systems as marriage markets in modern societies (pp. 79–112, Vol. 12). European Studies of Population. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  10. De Valk, H., Liefbroer, A. C., Esveldt, I., & Henkens, K. (2001). De één is de ander niet: patronen van gezinsvorming onder allochtonen in Nederland [Everyone is different: Patterns of family formation among migrants in the Netherlands]. Bevolking en Gezin, 30(3), 67–96.Google Scholar
  11. Dribe, M., & Lundh, C. (2011). Intermarriage, value context and union dissolution: Sweden 1990–2005. European Journal of Population. doi: 10.1007/s10680-011-9253-y.
  12. Duncan, S., & Smith, S. (2002). Geographies of family formations: Spatial differences and gender cultures in Britain. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 27, 471–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dykstra, P. A., & Van Wissen, L. J. G. (1999). Introduction: The life course approach as an interdisciplinary framework for population studies. In L. J. G. van Wissen & P. A. Dykstra (Eds.), Population issues. An interdisciplinary focus (pp. 1–22). New York: Kluwer Academic.Google Scholar
  14. Fisher, W. A. (1980). The Soviet marriage market. Mate selection in Russia and the USSR. New York: Praeger Scientific.Google Scholar
  15. Haandrikman, K. (2010). Waar ontmoeten partners elkaar? Sociale differentiatie in ontmoetingsplaatsen. [Where do partners meet? Social differentiation in meeting places]. Mens en Maatschappij, 85(2), 176–195.Google Scholar
  16. Haandrikman, K., Harmsen, C., Van Wissen, L. J. G., & Hutter, I. (2008a). Geography matters: Patterns of spatial homogamy in the Netherlands. Population, Space and Place, 14(5), 387–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haandrikman, K., Harmsen, C., Van Wissen, L. J. G., & Hutter, I. (2008b). De geografische dimensie van partnerkeuze [The geographical dimension of partner choice]. Bevolkingstrends, 56(3), 19–28.Google Scholar
  18. Haandrikman, K., & Hutter, I. (2012). That’s a different kind of person—spatial connotations and partner choice. Population, Space and Place, 18(3), 241–259.Google Scholar
  19. Haandrikman, K., & Van Wissen, L. J. G. (2011). Regional variation in short distance homogamy. Genus, 67(1), 45–59.Google Scholar
  20. Haandrikman, K., Van Wissen, L. J. G., & Harmsen, C. (2011). Explaining spatial homogamy. Compositional, spatial and regional cultural determinants of regional patterns of spatial homogamy in the Netherlands. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, 4, 75–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Harmsen, C., & Israëls, A. (2003). Register-based household statistics. Paper presented at the European population conference, 26–30 August 2003, Warsaw.Google Scholar
  22. Heeringa, W. (2004). Measuring dialect pronunciation differences using Levenshtein distance. Groningen: University of Groningen.Google Scholar
  23. Hendrickx, J. (1994). The analysis of religious assortative marriage. An application of design techniques for categorical models. Amsterdam: Thela Thesis.Google Scholar
  24. Hendrickx, J. (1998). Religious and educational assortative marriage patterns in the Netherlands, 1940–1985. The Netherlands Journal of Social Sciences, 34(1), 5–22.Google Scholar
  25. Hoffman, S. D., & Duncan, G. J. (1988). Multinomial and conditional logit discrete-choice models in demography. Demography, 25(3), 415–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Israëls, A., & Harmsen, C. (1999). Imputatiemodel voor jaarlijkse huishoudensstatistiek; adressen met twee niet-in-gezinsverband-levende personen [Imputation model for annual household statistics; addresses with two non-family related persons]. Internal Memo Statistics Netherlands, Division Research and Development, Sector Statistical Methods. Voorburg: Statistics Netherlands.Google Scholar
  27. Janssen, J. P. G., De Graaf, P. M., & Kalmijn, M. (1999). Heterogamie en echtscheiding: Een analyse van Nederlandse registergegevens 1974–1994 [Heterogamy and divorce: An analysis of Dutch register data, 1974–1994]. Bevolking en Gezin, 28, 35–57.Google Scholar
  28. Jepsen, L. K., & Jepsen, C. A. (2002). An empirical analysis of the matching patterns of same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Demography, 39(3), 435–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kalmijn, M. (1991). Shifting boundaries. Trends in religious and educational homogamy. American Sociological Review, 56(6), 786–800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kalmijn, M. (1994). Assortative mating by cultural and economic occupational status. American Journal of Sociology, 100(2), 422–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kalmijn, M. (1998). Intermarriage and homogamy: Causes, patterns, trends. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 395–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kalmijn, M. (2001). Veranderingen in vriendschapsnetwerken tijdens de levensloop. Een toets van de paarsgewijze-afzonderingshypothese [Changes in friendship networks over the life course: A test of the dyadic withdrawal hypothesis]. Mens en Maatschappij, 76(3), 221–239.Google Scholar
  33. Kalmijn, M., De Graaf, P. M., & Janssen, J. P. G. (2005). Intermarriage and the risk of divorce in the Netherlands: The effects of differences in religion and nationality, 1974–94. Population Studies, 59(1), 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kalmijn, M., & Flap, H. (2001). Assortative meeting and mating: Unintended consequences of organized settings for partner choices. Social Forces, 79(4), 1289–1312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kalmijn, M., & Vermunt, J. K. (2007). Homogeneity of social networks by age and marital status: A multi-level analysis of ego-centered networks. Social Networks, 29, 25–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kok, J., & Van Bavel, J. (2006). Stemming the tide. Denomination and religiousness in the Dutch fertility transition, 1845–1945. In R. Derosas & F. van Poppel (Eds.), Religion and the decline of fertility in the Western World (pp. 83–105). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Küchemann, C. F., Harrison, G. A., Hiorns, R. W., & Carrivick, P. J. (1974). Social class and marital distance in Oxford city. Annals of Human Biology, 1(1), 13–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lampard, R. J. (1997). Party political homogamy in Great Britain. European Sociological Review, 13(1), 79–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Luce, R. (1959). Individual choice behavior. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  40. Mare, R. D. (1991). Five decades of educational assortative mating. American Sociological Review, 56(1), 15–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mayfield, R. C. (1972). The spatial structure of a selected interpersonal contact: A regional comparison of marriage distances in India. In P. W. English & R. C. Mayfield (Eds.), Man, space, and environment. Concepts in contemporary human geography (pp. 385–401). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. McFadden, D. (1974). Conditional logit analysis of qualitative choice behavior. In P. Zarembka (Ed.), Frontiers in econometrics (pp. 105–142). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  43. McFadden, D. (1978). Modelling the choice of residential location. In A. Karlqvist, L. Lundqvist, F. Snickers, & J. W. Weibull (Eds.), Spatial interaction theory and planning models (pp. 75–96). Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  44. Ono, H. (2005). Marital history homogamy between the divorced and the never married among non-Hispanic whites. Social Science Research, 34, 333–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ono, H. (2006). Homogamy among the divorced and the never married on marital history in recent decades: Evidence from vital statistics data. Social Science Research, 35, 356–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pellegrini, P. A., & Fotheringham, A. S. (2002). Modelling spatial choice: A review and synthesis in a migration context. Progress in Human Geography, 26(4), 487–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schoen, R. (1983). Measuring the tightness of a marriage squeeze. Demography, 20(1), 61–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schwartz, C. R., & Mare, R. D. (2005). Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003. Demography, 42(4), 621–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Smits, J. (1996). Trouwpatronen en sociale openheid. Opleidinghomogamie en beroepshomogamie in een zestigtal landen [Marital patterns and social openness. Educational and occupational homogamy in 60 countries]. Nijmegen: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  50. Stevens, G., & Schoen, R. (1988). Linguistic intermarriage in the United States. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50(1), 267–279.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tobler, W. R. (1970). A computer movie simulating urban growth in the Detroit region. Economic Geography, 46, 234–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Trudgill, P. (1983). On dialect. Social and geographical perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  53. Uunk, W. (1996). Who marries whom? The role of social origin, education and high culture in mate selection of industrial societies during the twentieth century. Nijmegen: Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen.Google Scholar
  54. Van de Putte, B. (2003). Het belang van de toegeschreven positie in een moderniserende wereld. Partnerkeuze in de 19e-eeuwse Vlaamse steden (Leuven, Aalst en Gent) [The importance of ascribed positions in a modernizing society. Partner selection in 19th century Flemish cities (Leuven, Aalst and Gent)]. Leuven: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.Google Scholar
  55. Van der Bunt, G. G., Van Duijn, M. A. J., & Snijders, T. A. B. (1999). Friendship networks through time: An actor-oriented dynamic statistical network model. Computational & Mathematical Organization Theory, 5(2), 167–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Van Ham, M., & Tammaru, T. (2011). Ethnic minority-majority unions in Estonia. European Journal of Population, 27, 313–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Van Poppel, F., & Ekamper, P. (2005). De Goudse horizon verruimd. Veranderingen in de herkomst van Goudse bruiden en bruidegoms [The widening of Gouda’s horizon. Changes in the origin of brides and bridegrooms in Gouda]. In J. Kok & M. H. D. van Leeuwen (Eds.), Genegenheid en gelegenheid. Twee eeuwen partnerkeuze en huwelijk (pp. 181–211). Amsterdam: Aksant.Google Scholar
  58. Van Poppel, F. W. A., Liefbroer, A. C., Vermunt, J. K., & Smeenk, W. (2001). Love, necessity and opportunity: Changing patterns of marital age homogamy in the Netherlands, 1850–1993. Population Studies, 55, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human GeographyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations