House prices and marriage entry in China

Douglas H. Wrenn, Junjian Yi, Bo Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Rates of initial marriage have fallen in China since the late 1980s. This study ascribes part of this decline to a rise in house prices over the same period. Chinese social norms mandate the purchase of a home prior to marriage. We hypothesize that this custom, combined with rising house prices, has discouraged young adults from entering marriage for the first time. We test this hypothesis with an instrumental variable duration model using micro data on marriage entry and city-level data on house prices from 2000 through 2005 in urban China. Our results demonstrate that initial marriage rates declined by 0.31% for a 1% increase in house prices. This result is robust across a number of different model specifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-130
Number of pages13
JournalRegional Science and Urban Economics
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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