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Past Event

Seminar: Family context and marriageability: how natal family characteristics, co-residence patterns, sibship structure, marriage and childbearing history affect individual attractiveness to prospective marriage partners.

Dr Ekaterina Hertog, Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford.

Ekaterina Hertog and Wei-hsin Yu.


We examine how family context affects one’s desirability to potential marriage partners among the customers of a large Japanese marriage agency. The agency data provide us a unique opportunity to isolate the impact of family characteristics as well as socio-economic control variables on the “demand side” of marriage market interactions. Japan is an important test case of theories about marriage formation in societies where family and kinship are important institutions – theories that so far have mostly been tested on Western data. We show that traits associated with resource commitments, such as living with or having to support family members or being an only child, reduce attractiveness. Natal family characteristics that can be read as proxy of a lower social background, namely having three or more siblings, also reduce one’s desirability, as does a history of divorce. We also find support for the culturally specific argument that expectations of care associated with being the oldest son reduce attractiveness.

This event is part of a seminar series:

Michaelmas Term 2015 Seminar Series: Narratives on Marriage and Co-Habitation

This seminar series is hosted by the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Convenor: Professor Sarah Harper, Director, Oxford Institute of Population Ageing Week one: Please note that the Institute seminar on 15th October is part of the OMS 10 year celebration. The Marriage and Cohabitation Series thus starts on Week two. All welcome

Event Details

30 November 2015 14:00 - 15:30


Oxford Institute of Population Ageing

66 Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6PR