Does It Matter If Mom and Dad Are Similarly Educated? Evidence From Chile on the Relationship Between Marital Sorting and Infant Health

Alejandra Abufhele , Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Andres Castro, University of Pennsylvania
Luca Maria Pesando, Population Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania

This study expands existing scholarship on the relationship between educational assortative mating and children’s birth outcomes using rich administrative data from Chile on births that occurred between 1990 and 2014. We assess the applicability of the homogamy-benefit hypothesis – whereby parental educational similarity is beneficial for children’s outcomes due to enhanced complementarity in parental inputs towards child production, better relationship quality, and reduced conflict – by testing the relationship between educational homogamy and various measures of infant health such as birth weight and gestational age. We show that parents’ educational homogamy is associated with reduced probability of low birth weight (LBW). This association is contingent on the level of education of the mother. Relative to their homogamous counterparts, children of hypergamous couples where mothers have primary education or less have a reduced probability of low birth weight. Conversely, homogamy is associated with a reduced probability of LBW among couples where women have secondary and tertiary education.

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 Presented in Session 18. The Role of Father's on Child Well-being