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I next propose a tax on marriage homogeneity! Why? Well, Tyler Cowen points to some new research:

Assortative mating is returning to Gilded Age levels

Patterns of intermarriage between persons who have varying levels of educational attainment are indicators of socioeconomic closure and affect the family backgrounds of children. This article documents trends in educational assortative mating throughout the twentieth century in the United States, using socioeconomic data on adults observed in several large cross section surveys collected between 1972 and 2010 and on their parents who married a generation earlier. Spousal resemblance on educational attainment was very high in the early twentieth century, declined to an all-time low for young couples in the early 1950s, and has increased steadily since then. These trends broadly parallel the compression and expansion of socioeconomic inequality in the United States over the twentieth century. Additionally, educationally similar parents are more likely to have offspring who themselves marry within their own educational level. If homogamy in the parent generation leads to homogamy in the offspring generation, this may reinforce the secular trend toward increased homogamy.

Ignoring the possibility that more homogeneous marriage matches may themselves be reflections of inequality and stratification, think about the policy implications of these results of you are planning on leveling the playing field for those who did not win the lottery in life. Where are the proposals to “tax” marriage quality? You can imagine it would be very easy to police – add up the years of schooling of both parties and if those years exceed some specified number, then we impose a huge tax on the marriage, or simply forbid it. We could also forbid marriages where the sum total of schooling falls below some threshold.  There would of course be no downsides to all of this – and I cannot even conceive of a way that the “Gilded” families could get around such a high-minded and well-intentioned plan.

In the meantime, I’ll prepare the business plan I have for my new private tutoring company.

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