The politics of mate choice

John R. Alford, Peter K. Hatemi, John R. Hibbing, Nicholas G. Martin, Lindon J. Eaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research has found a surprising degree of homogeneity in the personal political communication network of individuals but this work has focused largely on the tendency to sort into likeminded social, workplace, and residential political contexts. We extend this line of research into one of the most fundamental and consequential of political interactions - that between sexual mates. Using data on thousands of spouse pairs in the United States, we investigate the degree of concordance among mates on a variety of traits. Our findings show that physical and personality traits display only weakly positive and frequently insignificant correlations across spouses. Conversely, political attitudes display interspousal correlations that are among the strongest of all social and biometric traits. Further, it appears the political similarity of spouses derives in part from initial mate choice rather than persuasion and accommodation over the life of the relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-379
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume73
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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    Alford, J. R., Hatemi, P. K., Hibbing, J. R., Martin, N. G., & Eaves, L. J. (2011). The politics of mate choice. Journal of Politics, 73(2), 362-379. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381611000016