Quality & Quantity 37: 317–325, 2003.
© 2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Match Speciﬁc Gains to Marriage: A Random
Effects Ordered Response Model
Department of Health Sciences, Maastricht University and “Scholar” Research Center for
Education and Labor Market, Department of Economics, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
HENRIËTTE MAASSEN VAN DEN BRINK
“Scholar” Research Center for Education and Labor Market Department of Economics, University
of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Abstract. A random effects ordered response model is used to analyze individual life satisfaction. It
is found that a substantial part of the unexplained variance in the individual’s life satisfaction can be
ascribed to the household or marriage. It is further found that the age variable should be considered
as a random effect on life satisfaction, i.e., an effect that varies between households.
Key words: marriage, life-satisfaction
As argued by Becker (1996: 233–234) the love and other bonds partners within
a marriage feel for each other increase individual utility or well-being. Love is
speciﬁc for the marriage or household in which the individuals lives. If individuals
do not just love everyone, there is a match or marriage speciﬁc effect (called love)
that increases individual life satisfaction.
If love increases well-being, life-satisfaction may have a hierarchical structure,
i.e., the effect of individual characteristics on life-satisfaction may not only depend
on characteristics of the individual, but also on the speciﬁc household or marriage
in which the individual lives. In this paper we analyze whether there are household
or marriage speciﬁc factors that increase individual life satisfaction. This is done
by estimating a multi-level or random effects ordered response model of life satis-
faction. Life satisfaction is measured by the response to the so- called Cantril scale.
This measures life satisfaction on a 0 to 10 scale: steps on the so-called ladder of
Present address: Department of Health Sciences, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD
Maastricht, The Netherlands. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.