Intergenerational Influences on Children's Marriage Timing

Dirgha J. Ghimire, University of Michigan
Ellen Compernolle, University of Michigan
William G. Axinn, University of Michigan

A large body of research, mostly focused on industrialized countries, has documented strong parental influence on children’s marital behavior. However, in non-Western, agrarian settings that historically hold more collective orientations emphasizing the family, this effect might be even stronger. This paper investigates intergenerational influences on marital behaviors in such a non-Western, predominantly arranged marriage setting: rural Nepal. We construct a new framework – parents’ social and human capital as measured in family and nonfamily experiences and household characteristics – specifically designed to extend established frameworks to radically different social and economic contexts. We use unique panel data featuring a representative sample of linked parent-children pairs, with parents’ own reports of experiences and household characteristics, and twelve years of children’s subsequent marital behavior. Preliminary results highlight mothers’ age at first marriage, both parents’ education, fathers’ travel, and livestock as important dimensions of parents’ capital influencing children’s marriage outcomes.

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Presented in Session 19: Intergenerational Impacts on Health and Demographic Events