Transition to First Marriage in Reform-Era Urban China: The Persistent Effect of Education in a Period of Rapid Social Change

Transition to First Marriage in Reform-Era Urban China: The Persistent Effect of Education in a... The negative association between education and marriage timing is often explained by an economic independence theory: education provides women with independent economic resources to reject the caregiver role in marriage. However, cross-national evidence shows the importance of cultural and historical continuity in marriage formation. This article examines the relationship between educational attainment and the timing of first marriage in reform-era urban China since the 1980s. Reform-era urban China provides a strong case to examine both theories: it has a strong marriage norm, but it has also experienced a rapid increase in gender inequality in the labor market during the economic reform. Using detailed education and work histories of 3,808 respondents from two waves of the Chinese General Social Survey, this article uses discrete-time hazard regressions to contrast the marriage experience between two cohorts that faced different labor market constraints. The evidence fits better with a path dependence theory. Specifically, the effect of education on marriage timing, for both women and men, is not significantly different between these two cohorts. The results encourage attention to local institutions and local culture in understanding the relationship between conditions in the labor market and marriage formation. Population Research and Policy Review Springer Journals

Transition to First Marriage in Reform-Era Urban China: The Persistent Effect of Education in a Period of Rapid Social Change

Loading next page...
Springer Netherlands
Copyright © 2013 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Social Sciences, general; Demography; Sociology, general; Population Economics
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site


  • Family change and continuity in Iran: Birth control use before first pregnancy
    Abbasi-Shavazi, MJ; Morgan, SP; Hossein-Chavoshi, M; McDonald, P

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.

DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 12 million articles from more than
10,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Unlimited reading

Read as many articles as you need. Full articles with original layout, charts and figures. Read online, from anywhere.

Stay up to date

Keep up with your field with Personalized Recommendations and Follow Journals to get automatic updates.

Organize your research

It’s easy to organize your research with our built-in tools.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

Monthly Plan

  • Read unlimited articles
  • Personalized recommendations
  • No expiration
  • Print 20 pages per month
  • 20% off on PDF purchases
  • Organize your research
  • Get updates on your journals and topic searches


Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial

Best Deal — 39% off

Annual Plan

  • All the features of the Professional Plan, but for 39% off!
  • Billed annually
  • No expiration
  • For the normal price of 10 articles elsewhere, you get one full year of unlimited access to articles.



billed annually
Start Free Trial

14-day Free Trial