Union Formation Implications of Race and Gender Gaps in Educational Attainment: The Case of Latin America

Albert Esteve, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Luís Ángel López, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Anna Cabré, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

We use census microdata to examine the impact of race and gender gaps in educational attainment on union formation patterns in six Latin American countries: Brazil, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela. Most of research focuses on net and relative measures of assortative mating to control for the unequal frequencies of various levels of educational attainment. However, we argue that in societies where an educational expansion has occurred but substantial inequalities of access to schooling persist (i.e. in Latin America), explicit trends on union formation are more relevant for social stratification and gender relations analysis than underlying trends. This implies that race and gender gaps in educational attainment must be taken as primary and key indicators for both absolute and relative measures of union formation. Therefore, we propose and test a series of hypotheses to examine the relationship between educational attainment inequalities and assortative mating.

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Presented in Poster Session 1