Last month the New York Times' David Leonhardt published a fascinating article, listing 13 young (untenured) US-based economists in his piece The Future of Economics Isn’t So Dismal. It's already been given a god run in the econoblogs. The reason I'm writing about it more than a month later is the accompanying table (click on it to see a larger, clearer version).
Of the 13 up-and-coming academic economists, six are married to each other. For example, Chicago's Emily Oster is married to fellow Chicago economist Jesse Shapiro. Not only that, Dr Oster is the daughter of two economists, Yale's Ray Fair and Sharon Oster. Talk about keeping it in the family. The other two couples were MIT's Amy Finkelstein and Harvard's Benjamin Olken, and Berkeley's Ulrike Malmendier, and Stefano DellaVigna.
Wharton's Justin Wolfers, by the way, has a partner with a PhD in economics from Harvard, who worked for two Federal Reserve banks and who is now an Assistant Professor of Business and Public Policy at Wharton: Betsey Stevenson. So that means over half (7 out of 13) of the rising US economic stars have an economist as partner.
The piece raises an question: Is this plethora of economist 'power couples' simply a reflection of the rising participation of women in academic economics, and the tendency for like to marry like? Or do partners in the same profession have higher joint productivity, compared to couples with differing careers? Personally, I suspect such 'power couples' do often perform better in their chosen profession. Comments are welcome.
In the meantime, continuing with this theme, I also plan a weekly post on 'economist couple of the week'. Nominations welcome.
UPDATE: Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution blog has linked to this post: Assortative mating