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Large Shocks and Small Changes in the Marriage Market for Famine Born Cohorts in China

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  • Loren Brandt
  • Aloysius Siow
  • Carl Vogel

Abstract

Between 1958 and 1961, China experienced one of its worst famines in history. Birth rates plummeted during these years, but recovered immediately afterwards. The famine-born cohorts were relatively scarce in the marriage and labor markets. The famine also adversely affected the health of these cohorts. This paper decomposes these two effects on the marital outcomes of the famine-born and adjacent cohorts in the rural areas of two hard hit provinces, Sichuan and Anhui. Individuals born pre and post-famine, who were in surplus relative to their customary spouses, were able to marry. Using the Choo Siow model of marriage matching, the paper shows that the famine substantially reduced the marital attractiveness of the famine born cohort. The modest decline in educational attainment of the famine born cohort does not explain the change in spousal quality of that cohort. Thus, the famine-born cohort, who were relatively scarce compared with their customary spouses, did not have significant above average marriage rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-334.

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Length: 1 pages
Date of creation: 08 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-334

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Keywords: famine; marriage market; Choo Siow; China;

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References

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  1. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Justin Yifu Lin & Yang, Dennis, 1995. "Food Availability, Entitlement and the Chinese Famine of 1959-61," Working Papers 95-24, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  3. Chen, Yuyu & Zhou, Li-An, 2007. "The long-term health and economic consequences of the 1959-1961 famine in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 659-681, July.
  4. Zhehui Luo & Ren Mu & Xiaobo Zhang, 2006. "Famine and Overweight in China ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 296-304.
  5. Wei Li & Dennis Tao Yang, 2005. "The Great Leap Forward: Anatomy of a Central Planning Disaster," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 840-877, August.
  6. Eugene Choo & Aloysius Siow, 2006. "Who Marries Whom and Why," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 175-201, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Xianwen Shi & Ronald Wolthoff & Aloysius Siow & Robert McCann, 2012. "Becker meets Ricardo: A social and cognitive skills model of human capabilities," 2012 Meeting Papers 32, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Gupta, Sumedha, 2011. "The Role of Marriage in the Causal Pathway from Economic Conditions Early in Life to Mortality," IZA Discussion Papers 5454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Xin Meng & Nancy Qian, 2009. "The Long Term Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from a Unique Natural Experiment using China's Great Famine," NBER Working Papers 14917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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