Anthropometry of love: height and gender asymmetries in interethnic marriages

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21036112

Econ Hum Biol. 2010 Dec;8(3):361-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ehb.2010.09.004. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Anthropometry of love: height and gender asymmetries in interethnic marriages.

Abstract

Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for the husband to be taller than the wife, can help explain these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis using data from the Millennium Cohort Study. Specifically, we find that ethnic differences in propensity to intermarry with Whites shrink when we control for the proportion of suitable partners with respect to height.

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