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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 3 (May 2012)

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Love and Money by Parental Matchmaking: Evidence from Urban Couples in China

Article Citation

Huang, Fali, Ginger Zhe Jin, and Lixin Colin Xu. 2012. "Love and Money by Parental Matchmaking: Evidence from Urban Couples in China." American Economic Review, 102(3): 555-60.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.3.555

Abstract

Parental involvement in marriage matchmaking may distort the optimal spouse choice because parents are willing to substitute love for money. The rationale is that the joint income of married children can be shared among extended family members more easily than mutual attraction felt by the couple themselves, and as a result, the best spouse candidate in the parents' eyes can differ from what is optimal to the individual, even though parents are altruistic and care dearly about their children's welfare. We find supporting evidence for this prediction using a unique sample of urban couples in China in the early 1990s.

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Authors

Huang, Fali (Singapore Management U)
Jin, Ginger Zhe (U MD)
Xu, Lixin Colin (World Bank)

JEL Classifications

O18: Economic Development: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
P25: Socialist Systems and Transitional Economies: Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics
J12: Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure; Domestic Abuse
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
P36: Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions: Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training: Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty
R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics


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