A dynamic model of the marriage market-part 1: matching algorithm based on age preference and availability

Theor Popul Biol. 2013 Sep;88:78-85. doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2013.01.006. Epub 2013 Jan 25.


The matching algorithm in a dynamic marriage market model is described in this first of two companion papers. Iterative Proportional Fitting is used to find a marriage function (an age distribution of new marriages for both sexes), in a stable reference population, that is consistent with the one-sex age distributions of new marriages, and includes age preference. The one-sex age distributions (which are the marginals of the two-sex distribution) are based on the Picrate model, and age preference on a normal distribution, both of which may be adjusted by choice of parameter values. For a population that is perturbed from the reference state, the total number of new marriages is found as the harmonic mean of target totals for men and women obtained by applying reference population marriage rates to the perturbed population. The marriage function uses the age preference function, assumed to be the same for the reference and the perturbed populations, to distribute the total number of new marriages. The marriage function also has an availability factor that varies as the population changes with time, where availability depends on the supply of unmarried men and women. To simplify exposition, only first marriage is treated, and the algorithm is illustrated by application to Zambia. In the second paper, remarriage and dissolution are included.

Keywords: Age preference function; Iterative Proportional Fitting; Marriage market; Two-sex age distribution; Zambia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors*
  • Algorithms*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marriage*
  • Models, Theoretical*