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Are China’s “Leftover Women” really leftover? An investigation of marriage market penalties in modern-day China

Loren Brandt (), Hongbin Li (), Laura Turner () and Jiaqi Zou ()
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Hongbin Li: Stanford Center on Global Poverty & Development and Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Stanford University, USA
Laura Turner: Department of Economics, University of Toronto, Canada; Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis
Jiaqi Zou: Department of Economics, University of Toronto, Canada

Working Paper series from Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis

Abstract: A recent trend in Korea and Japan sees college-graduate women marrying later and at lower rates than less-educated women. In China, “leftover women” have also became a top policy concern. This paper finds, however, that China’s higher-educated urban women attain marital outcomes more like those in the US than in other Asian Tiger countries: marrying later, but ultimately at comparable rates to less-educated women. For 1990-2009, we quantify marriage quality using the classic Choo-Siow (2006) estimator and find large returns to marrying later but minimal direct higher-education effects. Using the Choo (2015) dynamic estimator, we project future marriage rates to continue to rise for higher-educated women relative to their lower-educated peers.

Date: 2018-08
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