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Column: Household earnings largely decided by choices

A century ago, most Americans married young and locally, with education playing a much smaller role.

It is fair to conclude this double trilogy on income inequality with a brief review of some of new research on the future of social mobility. I warn you, gentle reader, this topic might be unnerving.

A century ago, most Americans married young. Their associations were local, and marriages tended to be of people who were alike in race, religion, culture and geography. This necessarily smaller pool of eligible mates (or marriage market in unromantic economic jargon) meant that other factors such as intelligence and education played a smaller role than race and religion in choosing a partner.

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