Laura Eras

I am a PhD student in sociology at LMU Munich (Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies). In my dissertation, I explore social change in post-Soviet Ukraine and Russia. More specifically, I study how attitudes toward the Russian-speaking population have developed in Ukraine and how social stratification has changed in Russia since the late Soviet Union. I am a research associate at the Institute for East European Studies at the Free University Berlin; before, from 2017-2020, I was a research associate at LMU Munich. I hold an M.A. and a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in History from LMU Munich. I was a visiting scholar at the Department of Sociology and the Center for Russia, East Europe, and Central Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in fall and winter 2021/22.

Presentation title:

Assortative Mating in Russia, 1991-2017

Presentation description:

Marriage patterns give an idea about the rigidity of social hierarchies in a society. It has been argued that income inequality leads to higher levels of homogamy. While there are several studies on intergenerational mobility in Russia and the post-socialist area in general, there are relatively few studies on assortative mating for this region. However, the transition to market economy and the rise of inequality in the 1990s makes Russia an interesting case to study how the economic situation affects social openness. We examine the associations between husbands’ and wives’ educational status in Russia based on twelve representative surveys conducted between 1991 and 2017. Using loglinear models, we see that over time the association between spousal education has strengthened. This goes in line with our hypothesis that the transition to market economy and the rise of income inequality led to a higher incentive to marry high status individuals and disincentivized divorce between high status individuals. As we do not find differences between distinct birth cohorts, we argue that these changes are period instead of cohort effects. Thus, our analysis does not only indicate that partner preferences can change relatively fast in the case of economic ruptures but that they affect all birth cohorts.