The tabloids love a good celebrity romance. But so do scientists. One has even used movie stars as models for understanding why people tend to marry partners with similar levels of education. The star-studded study appears in the Journal of Human Capital. [Gustaf Bruze, "Marriage Choices of Movie Stars: Does Spouse’s Education Matter?"]
There are any number of reasons why individuals might wed their academic equals. The simplest being that they actually meet each other in school. It could also be that people with similar educational backgrounds wind up side by side in the workplace. Or maybe we’re more comfortable with someone whose earning potential is in our ballpark.
To sort through the possibilities, Gustaf Bruze, an economist in Denmark, looked to the Big Screen. Thespians, he found, also tend to marry people with the same level of learning. So Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes each have formal education equivalent to completion of high school.
Now, actors don’t usually meet their partners in school, and they’re not cast in movies based on their diplomas. Nor does their education level correlate with their box office earnings. So it can’t be about happenstance or about finance. Maybe it’s just that people with the same sort of education like the same movies—in this case, the ones they’re in.
[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]