Économie et Statistique n° 481-482 - 2015Microsimulation applied to fiscal and social policies
Educational homogamy and inequalities in wage income: a life-cycle perspective
Beyond its effects on career paths, the level of educational qualification has a significant impact on individuals' matrimonial behaviour, in particular via phenomena of educational homogamy (i.e. the tendency towards the union of individuals with similar educational characteristics). The aim of this article is to analyse the consequences from an economic point of view in focusing on wage income inequalities in the overall life-cycle. We use a dynamic microsimulation model, the Gameo cohort model, which enables the simulation of different union calendars for a given generation, their career paths (position in the labour market, wage-earning careers), but also that of their potential spouses. On the basis of an intertemporal income indicator, our microsimulation exercise shows that the income of spouses decreases the inequalities observed between individuals of the same generation by 11.7% (in relative variation of the Gini coefficient). While this result suggests that the redistributive effect of matrimonial unions outweighs the polarising effect of educational homogamy, we demonstrate that the relative variation of the Gini coefficient would be approximately 5 percentage points higher if matrimonial unions took place in a random manner.