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Marriage Behavior from the Perspective of Intergenerational Relationships


  • Kazuyasu Sakamoto
  • Yukinobu Kitamura


This article examines the changes in marriage behavior, such as nonmarriage and marriage postponement, that lie at the heart of the aging population and low fertility problem. Using the Japanese Panel Survey of Consumers, we conducted a factor analysis on the trends toward marriage postponement and nonmarriage evident from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, when the ever-married rate fell significantly. The results revealed the following. First, among unmarried people living with their parents, the receipt of income from their parents lowers marriage probability. However, this was confirmed only for children of the economic bubble generation whose parents were of the prewar or wartime generation. This suggests that the image of singles depicted by the "parasite single hypothesis" was a temporary phenomenon. Second, among individuals in the generation that came of age after the collapse of the bubble economy, those who work long hours and those who did not have a good first job tend to have lower marriage probability. This is because poor economic conditions since the late 1990s caused the labor demand for young people to decline, and for more nonregular employment patterns to be adopted. Third, an examination of the influence of the father-to-potential-husband income ratio on marriage, a key component of the "transfer of dependency model," showed that regardless of the parents' generation, marriage probability was reduced only in cases where the parents' income is $5 million or more.

Suggested Citation

  • Kazuyasu Sakamoto & Yukinobu Kitamura, 2007. "Marriage Behavior from the Perspective of Intergenerational Relationships," Japanese Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(4), pages 76-122.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jpneco:v:34:y:2007:i:4:p:76-122
    DOI: 10.2753/JES1097-203X340404

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    Cited by:

    1. Linda N. Edwards & Takuya Hasebe & Tadashi Sakai, 2015. "Education and Marriage Decisions of Japanese Women and the Role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act," Working Papers 7, City University of New York Graduate Center, Ph.D. Program in Economics.
    2. Wei-hsin Yu & Janet Chen-Lan Kuo, 2016. "Explaining the Effect of Parent-Child Coresidence on Marriage Formation: The Case of Japan," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1283-1318, October.

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