Economics Seminar Series

Yiru Wang, Southwest University of Finance and Economics

Famine and Marital Assortative Matching – Evidence from China

Dr Yiru Wang.

Dr Yiru Wang

The impact of early life exposure to famine on assortative matching is ambiguous. On the one hand, individuals may marry worse, as the negative health and socioeconomic effects from early-life exposure to famine may diminish their marital attractiveness. On the other hand, early-life famine experience may create long-lasting psychological anxiety in people, which may encourage them to marry better to gain psychological security. In this paper, we investigate the impact of early life exposure to famine on survivors’ assortative matching by socioeconomic status at the time of first marriage. We exploit cross-region and cross-cohort variations in the intensity of exposure to the Great Chinese Famine to conduct a difference-in-differences based empirical analysis. Using data from the CFPS and CGSS, we find that the influence of the famine differs across genders, with positive influence for women and negative influence for men. Specifically, women with early-life exposure to famine were less likely to marry down in terms of their own and father’s educational attainment, father’s social class, and individual and family economic conditions at the time of first marriage. Men born during the famine, by contrast, were less likely to marry up. The impacts are especially larger for individuals of low socioeconomic status. The findings suggest that marriage in China is a family affair in that the characteristics of spousal family are important deciding factors.


Thursday, February 25th @ 9:30am

Zoom Meeting link:

Meeting ID: 956 0902 2554

Passcode: 210225