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Political Economy of Cross-Border Marriage: Economic Development and Social Reproduction in Korea


  • Hyunok Lee


This contribution situates the recent increase in cross-border marriages in Korea in the context of feminist debates on social reproduction. Drawing on surveys, policy documents, media responses, and interviews, the study explores how the phenomenon of cross-border marriage in Korea coincides with changing demographic trends and policies in the domains of the family, population, and welfare. Beginning as a solution to the “rural bachelor's marriage problem” -- visible in the late 1980s -- marriage between Korean men and women of foreign origin became increasingly common in the 2000s, in parallel with the emergence of national policy issues such as low fertility and a care deficit. The study suggests that current trends in cross-border marriage and policies on multicultural families reflect the need for changes in the organization of social reproduction that has resulted from the economic development that began in the 1960s and the political-economic restructuring since the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyunok Lee, 2012. "Political Economy of Cross-Border Marriage: Economic Development and Social Reproduction in Korea," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 177-200, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:18:y:2012:i:2:p:177-200
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2012.688139

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    Cited by:

    1. Smriti Rao & Kade Finnoff, 2015. "Marriage Migration and Inequality in India, 1983–2008," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 41(3), pages 485-505, September.

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