Assortative mating and the wealth inequality debate

The literature on assortative mating has largely focused on whether children of wealthy parents tend to marry children of similarly wealthy parents. Using data from Norway, this column shows that people tend to match based on their own pre-marriage wealth, not their parent’s wealth, and that individuals also match based on their personal returns to wealth. Among wealthy couples, the partner with the highest pre-marriage return tends to manage the household’s assets, allowing the households to grow their assets even faster over time and boosting wealth concentration.