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Love, money, and old age support : does parental matchmaking matter ?

Author

Listed:
  • Huang, Fali
  • Jin, Ginger Zhe
  • Xu, Lixin Colin

Abstract

Parental involvement in matchmaking may distort the choice of spouse because parents are willing to substitute love for market and household production, which are more sharable between parents and their children. This paper finds supportive evidence in a survey of Chinese couples. In both rural and urban areas, parent matchmaking is associated with less marital harmony between the couple, more submissive wives, and a stronger belief in old age support for the son. In contrast, its association with couple income differs by rural and urban regions, perhaps because of differences in earning opportunities and in the enforcement of the one-child policy. Moreover, parent matchmaking is associated with more children for the couple and lower schooling for wives only in rural areas. Thus, in places with a stronger need for old age support, parents tend to be involved in matchmaking and use it to select submissive daughters-in-law to ensure old age support. The results render support to Becker, Murphy and Spenckuch (2015), who imply that parents would meddle with children's preferences to ensure their commitment to providing old age support.

Suggested Citation

  • Huang, Fali & Jin, Ginger Zhe & Xu, Lixin Colin, 2015. "Love, money, and old age support : does parental matchmaking matter ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7188, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7188
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Population&Development; Population Policies; Gender and Law; Youth and Governance; Rural Poverty Reduction;

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