The Preference Changes in Spouse Selection in Japan: New Evidence from Marriage Behaviors in 2002 and Onwards

Setsuya Fukuda, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This study examines the latest marriage behavior of Japanese women in 2002 and onwards. Theoretical focus of this study is the relationship between women’s economic standings and marriage formation in a gender-traditional society. Japan is one of a few developed countries where women’s higher earnings potential and marriage formation are negatively associated. Previous study suggests both growing women’s economic independence and persistent women’s desires for hypergamy explain the consistently observed negative relationships until the 1990s in Japan. There are, however, few studies examining whether the relationship still holds in recent marriages. By using the latest and largest panel data of young adults in Japan, this study extensively examines the effects of women’s economic standings on marriage intensity. The results indicate a new evidence that the effect of women’s economic standings have reversed and is now positive with respect to marriage. The paper discusses the theoretical implications behind the change.

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Presented in Poster Session 2