How Movie Stars Choose Spouses for Their Education Level

Plenty of research studies have been done in the past to identify the factors that influence the choice of life partners. These studies have shown that men and women have a propensity to choose spouses with a similar educational level. However, it has been found that many contradictory factors are considered before arriving at this conclusion. To minimize these factors, the researchers of the present study wanted to examine the role of education in marital choices of movie stars. “In particular, this paper documents that successful movie actors have a strong tendency to marry partners with a level of education similar to their own.”

Earlier studies have shown that the educational level is a very important factor in the choice of spouses. It has been found that people spend a large part of their lives in school or college where they often meet their future spouses. Researchers have proposed that women want their husbands to have interests, income, and abilities similar to theirs, and therefore marry men with a similar educational background. Both these hypotheses suggest other varying factors, apart from just educational levels, which determine the selection of a life partner. In the present study, educational levels of famous movie stars and their spouses were compared. This is because movie star couples rarely meet during their schooling. Moreover, their incomes usually vary considerably. Thus, the marriage choices made by movie stars might help understand the means by which marital sorting based on education occurs.

* A list of top movie stars was prepared based on the Ulmer Scale, an entertainment database company that rates stars’ bankability. Information about their spouses was obtained from the Marquis Who’s Who on Web encyclopedia.
* Information regarding the education of the actors was obtained from their online profiles. The educational background of 140 spouses was found from the Internet. Therefore, the researchers studied 140 currently married couples and noted the place where the couple first met.
* The professional success of actors was measured by noting the number of articles written about them and the number of Academy Awards that they had won. The physical attractiveness of actors and their spouses was also noted.

* On an average, each movie star had 14 years of education. About half of the star spouses were also famous personalities. About 45 percent of actors had met their spouses while working.
* With regard to overall education in U.S., female actors were less educated compared to male actors.
* Better-looking stars had more publicity and were more successful.
* There was a significant correlation between the level of education of the husband and wife. “There is a substantial sorting on education in the marriages of top actors.”

This study shows that people choose spouses that have a comparable level of education. Factors such as where they met or income levels do not influence this choice. The educational level independently influences the selection of spouses. Movie actors do not meet their spouses in school and are not segregated by education in their professional
lives generally. Therefore, segregation in school and at the workplace does not induce marital sorting on education among movie actors. This study therefore shows that when seeking a spouse, educational background plays a principle role in choice. Marriages between highly educated men and women cause higher social inequality, as both the partners earn high wages and are wealthier.

For More Information:
Marriage Choices of Movie Stars: Does Spouse’s Education Matter?
Publication Journal: Journal of Human Capital, Spring 2011
By Gustaf Bruze

*FYI Living Lab Reports Are Summaries of the Original Research.

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