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Wei Yang and Michael Veall
''Living with the In-laws in China: Which Way is the Spousal Transfer?''
( 2020, Vol. 40 No.4 )
Chinese couples sometimes live with the husband's parents (virilocal marriages) or the wife's parents (uxorilocal marriages). Among possible losses and gains, the moving spouse may work for her/his spouse's family and receive food and living space. We argue that the likely predominant direction of the net transfer may be ascertained from the relative perceived “quality” (e.g. youth, education) of the marriage partners. Probit analysis on 2005 Chinese data suggests that living with the in-laws is associated with “moving up” in partner quality. Hence, conditional on partner quality, living with the in-laws as opposed to living separately from parents would likely require an offsetting transfer to the moving spouse. The increasing shortage of women marriage partners (due to son preference and sex-selective abortion) may therefore tend to increase living with the wife's family and reduce living with the husband's family. Policies which normalize these changes in living arrangements might slightly reduce son preference.
Keywords: virilocal marriage, uxorilocal marriage, intramarriage transfers, son preference
JEL: J1 - Demographic Economics: General
D1 - Household Behavior: General
Manuscript Received : Jun 27 2019 Manuscript Accepted : Nov 30 2020

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