We examine a hitherto unexplored aspect of intergenerational transmission of economic standing, namely culturally determined status markers and their valuation in the marriage market. We take nobility to be such a status marker. We propose a two-trait extension of the optimal sorting model in Becker (1973). Using data on Swedish marriages we test the hypothesis that nobility have a greater probability of marrying up in terms of wealth. Our main finding is a sizeable and statistically significant positive effect for nobility. We use unique data on the evolution of nobility to make some predictions about the longevity of this institution.
Marriage Status Intergenerational Transmission Nobility