Does Educational Expansion Increase Educational Homogamy?

Dongshu Ou, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Suet-ling Pong, Pennsylvania State University

We estimate the causal effect of education on educational homogamy by taking advantage of the exogenous higher education expansion in Hong Kong in late 1980s which greatly increased women’s access to universities. Using the expansion policy as an instrument, we estimate the correlation of individuals’ and spouses’ education level using a two-stage-least-squares regression model. The estimates identify the effects of the expansion policy on educational homogamy. Preliminary results show that the ordinary least squares estimates on individual women and their spouses’ education are downward biased, indicating that those women who are most affected by the higher education expansion policy have a greater tendency to marry someone with a similar education level. Several robustness checks are performed. The study highlights the importance of understanding spillover effects on family formation when evaluating educational policies. The study also extends the current literature on higher-education-expansion policy’s long-term impacts under a different institutional context.

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Presented in Session 183: Gender, Work and Family: The Influence of Social Context