The house naturally has a sense of belonging and value attributes of a home, making it the main signal medium for women to resolve the asymmetry of information in the marriage market and screen high-quality objects. However, in recent years, housing prices have continued to rise, which has greatly increased the signal transmission cost of houses. In comparison, the signal transmission cost of education is lower, and its value has been continuously highlighted. So, do rising house prices affect women’s educational preference in mate selection?
This article first analyzes the internal logic between house, education and marriage matching from the signal perspective, and finds that in marriage matching, the house is a signal that conveys the man’s family economic status, while education is a signal that conveys the man’s personal ability. Under the circumstances, the sharp increase in the cost of house signal transmission may cause the house signal to transmit the family’s economic status to “failure”, thereby prompting the signal transmission cost to be relatively low.
On this basis, this article matches the CGSS data in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015 with the housing market data, and uses the OLS regression, Tobit regression and IV-2SLS regression models to analyze the relationship between housing prices and women’s educational preference in mate selection. It is estimated that after dealing with endogenous problems, the conclusions obtained are still stable.
The results show that: （1）Rising housing prices have significantly increased women’s educational preference in mate selection, that is, the higher the housing price, the more obvious the role of academic qualifications in the marriage market as a substitute for houses, and women’s educational preference in mate selection will increase accordingly.（2）For women with poor resource endowments such as lower-class families, central and western regions, or rural household registration, rising housing prices have changed the way women rely on houses to “marry up”, and the value of education in the marriage market has become more prominent.
The conclusions of this paper indicate that if housing prices continue to rise, the education signal will further replace the house signal. Therefore, guaranteeing the labor market’s return on education and accelerating the establishment of a housing system that incorporates both rent and purchase will improve the marriage happiness of residents, especially those with relatively poor resource endowments.