The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Marriage Markets

  • Andrew Foster
Reference work entry


The term ‘marriage market’ refers to the application of economic theory to the analysis of the process that determines how men and women are matched to each other through marriage and how this process influences other choices including human capital investment and the allocation of marital surplus. The specific sub-topics in this article include a characterization of stable assignment in marriage, consideration of the effects of marriage allocations on distribution within marriage, discussion of the extent to which partners who marry have similar characteristics, and a review of results on marriage timing.


Assortative mating Dowries Fertility Human capital investment Inequality Marriage markets Non-market production Stable assignment Transferable utility 
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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Foster
    • 1
  1. 1.