Author(s)  
Stefania Marcassa, Jérôme Pouyet, Thomas Trégouët

We use a unique dataset to analyze marriage and union patterns of the European nobility from the 1500s to the 1800s. Historical evidence shows that: nobles tended to marry nobles with identical title; and, German marriages, whose dowry rules were more rigid, were characterized by a higher degree of homogamy in titles than English marriages. Moreover, we show that German data exhibit lower odds of intermarriage than English among high ranked titles, and hence provide evidence of a more stratified society. We propose a matching model that rationalizes our empirical findings: it predicts homogamy in title, and that more stringent constraints on the dowries lead to a higher degree of homogamy.

JEL Codes  
C78: Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
N34: Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy: Europe: 1913-
Z10: Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology: General
Keywords  
Marriage
nobility
class
elite
history
assortative matching