Marriage Squeeze and Inter-Provincial Marriage in Central China: Evidence from X County

Lige Liu, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Xiaoyi Jin, Xi'an Jiaotong University
Melissa J. Brown, Harvard University
Marcus W. Feldman, Stanford University

Since the 1990s, inter-provincial female migration for marriage has become important in central and eastern rural China. Using survey data from X County in rural Anhui Province, we explore the arrangement of inter-provincial marriages, as well as the characteristics of husbands and wives, marital satisfaction and marital stability for these marriages. We find that inter-provincial marriage is an important option for local men to respond to the marriage squeeze and the increasing expense of marriage. It also relieves the shortage of marriageable women in the local marriage market. Because this kind of marriage is based on economic exchange, but not affection, it is often subject to a higher risk of instability, and can lead to such illegal behaviors as marriage fraud and mercenary marriage.

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Presented in Session 21: Union Formation: Developing Countries