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Citation Information

Type Working Paper - University of Toronto, Dept. of Economics Working Paper
Title Large shocks and small changes in the marriage market for famine born cohorts in China
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
URL http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~siow/papers/Oct2008new.pdf
Between 1958 and 1961, China experienced one of its worst famines in
history. Birth rates plummeted during these years, but recovered immediately
afterwards. The famine-born cohorts were relatively scarce in the
marriage and labor markets. The famine also adversely a§ected the health
of these cohorts. First, this paper provides estimates of the total e§ects of
the famine on the marital behavior of famine a§ected cohorts in the rural
areas of two hard hit provinces, Sichuan and Anhui. Unlike regression
based methods, these causal estimates incorporates general equilibrium
behavior, an important component of marital behavior. Next, the paper
uses a structural model of the marriage market, the Choo Siow model, to
decompose observed marital outcomes in quantity and quality e§ects of
the famine. The structural estimates shows that the famine substantially
reduced the marital attractiveness of the famine born cohort. The famineborn
cohort, who were relatively scarce compared with their customary
spouses, did not have signiÖcant above average marriage rates. The modest
decline in educational attainment of the famine born cohort does not
explain the change in spousal quality of that cohort.

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