A new methodological framework for studying status exchange in marriage

Yu Xie, Hao Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The authors propose a new methodological framework for studying status exchange in marriage. As shown in recent debates on status-race or status-beauty exchange, the conventional log-linear modeling approach is prone to controversial specifications and alternative interpretations. This study develops a simple method—the exchange index (EI)—with cohort-and gender-specific relative status measures, statistical distribution balancing, and nonparametric matching. While allowing for multiple covariate controls, the EI measures the average difference in spouse’s status between intermarriages and matched in-group marriages. To demonstrate the new framework, two analytical examples of status-race and status-age exchange, based on the IPUMS 2000 U.S. Census 5% microdata sample, are used. To verify the new method, replication and simulation studies are also conducted. This approach reduces model dependency, improves flexibility to account for confounders, allows for examination of heterogeneous patterns, speaks to fundamental concepts in status exchange theory, and takes advantage of increasingly available large-scale microdata.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1179-1219
Number of pages41
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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