Love, Money, and Old Age Support: Does Parental Matchmaking Matter?

45 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Fali Huang

Fali Huang

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lixin Colin Xu

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2015

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.

Keywords: Social Development & Poverty

Suggested Citation

Huang, Fali and Jin, Ginger Zhe and Xu, Lixin Colin, Love, Money, and Old Age Support: Does Parental Matchmaking Matter? (February 1, 2015). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7188. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2579887

Fali Huang (Contact Author)

Singapore Management University - School of Social Sciences ( email )

90 Stamford Road
Singapore, 178903
Singapore
65-68280859 (Phone)
65-68280833 (Fax)

Ginger Zhe Jin

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States
301-405-3484 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lixin Colin Xu

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
MC 3-427
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-4664 (Phone)
202-522-1155 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/cxu

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