January 29, 2024 | News

Congratulations Julia Leesch

Julia Leesch (centre) after the successful defence of her dissertation with her colleagues Stefano Arnolfo and Flavia Mazzeo. © private

Julia Leesch successfully defended her doctoral thesis on "Trends in Educational Homogamy and Heterogamy – Analyzing the Roles of Assortative Mating and Structural Opportunities using a Novel Decomposition Method" at Trinity College Dublin in early January. In her dissertation, Julia Leesch analyzed the educational composition of couples, which has changed significantly in recent decades. For example, in most countries around the world, the proportion of marriages and cohabiting couples in which women have higher educational qualifications than men has increased. In her paper Julia develops a new decomposition approach to investigate the extent to which this is due to changes in structural opportunity (who is available on the partner market in terms of education) and assortative mating (non-random matching of available candidates). The researcher concludes that while trends in assortative mating have had some influence, changes in structural opportunity have been the main driver of trends in 'who is married to whom'.

The dissertation was supervised by Jan Skopek of the Department of Sociology at Trinity College Dublin.

Julia Leesch is a researcher at the MPIDR in the Research Group Gender Inequalities and Fertility.

Related publications

Julia Leesch, Tomáš Katrňák,  Jan Skopek: Structural opportunities or assortative mating? – Decomposing trends and country differences in educational sorting outcomes in marriages in European Societies (2023): 
DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/kj68u

Julia Leesch, Jan Skopek: Decomposing trends in educational homogamy and heterogamy – The case of Ireland in Social Science Research (2023): DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2023.102846



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The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.