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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Loren Brandt & Aloysius Siow & Carl Vogel, 2008. "Large Shocks and Small Changes in the Marriage Market for Famine Born Cohorts in China," Working Papers tecipa-334, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-334
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    File URL: https://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/tecipa-334.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lin, Justin Yifu & Yang, Dennis Tao, 2000. "Food Availability, Entitlements and the Chinese Famine of 1959-61," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 136-158, January.
    2. Guido W. Imbens & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 5-86, March.
    3. 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.
    4. repec:oup:revage:v:28:y:2006:i:3:p:296-304. is not listed on IDEAS
    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. 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.
    7. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alessie, R.; Angelini, V.; Mierau, J.O.; Viluma, L.;, 2017. "Economic Downturns and Babies’ Health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 17/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Scholte, Robert S. & van den Berg, Gerard J. & Lindeboom, Maarten, 2015. "Long-run effects of gestation during the Dutch Hunger Winter famine on labor market and hospitalization outcomes," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 17-30.
    3. Maria Porter, 2016. "How do sex ratios in China influence marriage decisions and intra-household resource allocation?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 337-371, June.
    4. Decker, Colin & Lieb, Elliott H. & McCann, Robert J. & Stephens, Benjamin K., 2013. "Unique equilibria and substitution effects in a stochastic model of the marriage market," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(2), pages 778-792.
    5. 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.
    6. van den Berg, Gerard J. & Gupta, Sumedha, 2015. "The role of marriage in the causal pathway from economic conditions early in life to mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 141-158.
    7. Jinkins, David, 2016. "Conspicuous consumption in the United States and China," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 115-132.
    8. Bhaskar, Venkataraman, 2015. "The Demographic Transition and the Position of Women: A Marriage Market Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 10619, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    famine; marriage market; Choo Siow; China;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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