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Working paper 613

Loren Brandt, Hongbin Li, Laura Turner, Jiaqi Zou, "Are China's "Leftover Women" Really Leftover? An Investigation of Marriage Market Penalties in Modern-day China", 2018-08-18
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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 become 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 the 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 remain stable among the higher educated and to decline for lower-educated women.

Keywords: China, marriage markets, fertility, leftover women, education, assortative mating

JEL Classification: D13, J11, J12, J13, N35