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Explaining the flight of Cupid's arrow: A spatial random utility model of partner choice
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.
2012 (English)In: European Journal of Population, ISSN 0168-6577, E-ISSN 1572-9885, Vol. 28, no 4, 417-439 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Spatial homogamy may be defined as follows: anyone may be attractedto anyone else, but near candidates are more attractive than distant candidates.In this article, we propose a model of partner choice, where homogamy is definedin terms of spatial, demographic, socioeconomic and cultural similarity. A spatialchoice model using random utility theory is formulated, taking into account arelaxation of the independence from the irrelevant alternatives property, as spatialalternatives are not independent of one another. We model partner choice given thecharacteristics of the chosen partner and a choice set of alternatives, using uniquemicro data on all new cohabiters in the Netherlands, linked to other relevant datasets. The model takes the spatial locations of potential candidates within a choice setinto account, including an indicator for the spatial similarity between alternatives.We find that spatial homogamy is a vital component of partner matching, aside fromand adding to the spatial effects in demographic, socioeconomic and culturalhomogamy. Given a choice set of partners, the highest likelihood of a match occurswith a person who is born and lives near by, who is close in age, is in the same lifestage and has the same marital status, who has the same educational and incomelevel and the same labour market status, who speaks the same dialect and lives in aculturally similar residential area. The distance effect is most pronounced for thoseindividuals with lower levels of education and those living in rural areas.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 28, no 4, 417-439 p.
Keyword [en]
partner choice, random utility, spatial choice, spatial homogamy, the Netherlands, register data
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Human Geography
Research subject
Demography; Human Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-74493DOI: 10.1007/s10680-012-9260-7ISI: 000311024700002OAI: diva2:509945
Available from: 2012-03-14 Created: 2012-03-14 Last updated: 2012-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Haandrikman, Karen
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European Journal of Population
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)Social Sciences InterdisciplinaryHuman Geography

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