Searching on campus? The marriage market effects of changing student sex ratios

Nico Pestel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper studies how secular changes in the student sex ratio affect marriage market outcomes for university graduates. Using data from Germany, I find that a higher owngender share within the field of study reduces marriage market opportunities for women, while the opposite is true for men. Moreover, an imbalanced student sex ratio changes the composition of couples. For women, a higher female share decreases the probability of having a spouse from the same field, while men are more likely to marry down with respect to educational status when the male share is high. These findings suggest that the secular changes in the sex ratio of university students have important implications beyond the labor market by affecting the household composition among the high-skilled population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175–1207
Number of pages33
JournalReview of Economics of the Household
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

JEL classifications

  • i24 - Education and Inequality
  • j12 - "Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse"
  • i23 - Higher Education and Research Institutions
  • d10 - Household Behavior: General


  • Germany
  • Higher education
  • Marriage markets
  • Sex ratio


Dive into the research topics of 'Searching on campus? The marriage market effects of changing student sex ratios'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this