New Education Project at the WiscRDC

“Inequality at the Top: The Contribution of Elites to Social Stratification”

Eric Grodsky, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Christine Schwartz, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Noah Hirschl, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Kelly Musick, Cornell University

Abstract
The present study aims to track changes in marital patterns by college and graduate program selectivity across birth cohorts from the 1940s to the 1980s and to measure the extent to which these changes have contributed to trends in household earnings inequality. We propose to assess the quality of and leverage linkages between the National Survey of College Graduates and the Decennial Census and American Community Survey. This new data linkage will allow us to produce novel estimates of marital patterns among college graduates according to their detailed educational histories. First, we will use log-linear models of homogamy to measure the extent to which college graduates have increasingly married spouses from equivalently selective institutions. Second, we will use an inequality decomposition to measure the extent to which these trends have contributed to rising inequality between households. These estimates will shed new light on family formation patterns among elites and on the development of inequality over the last sixty year

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