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Cupid and Psyche: Cognition and the Choice of the Partner

Marini, Annalisa (2017): Cupid and Psyche: Cognition and the Choice of the Partner.

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The paper provides the first empirical evidence on the importance of cognition - numeric ability - in the choice of the partner. Using the British Household Panel Study Understanding Society, I estimate a structural model of marriage sorting on a representative sample of British couples. Results show that partners with similar numeric ability are attracted to each other. Cognition and physical characteristics are the most important attributes in marriage sorting. Personality traits and risk propensity are also relevant to various extents. Heterogeneous preferences across gender are found and results are robust to an alternative specification. Implications of mutual attractiveness in cognition for marriage dynamics are discussed.

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