Issues of marriage timing in different cultural contexts Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Ji, Yingchun
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • This dissertation examines the interplay of economic and cultural motivations in the decision of when to marry. I draw on economic rational choice theory, social psychological reasoned action theory, and sociological norm theories to explain how economic and ideational factors pattern decision-making concerning marriage formation, both independently and interactively. I apply this approach to examine marriage timing in Nepal, and further investigate how marriage and education are juggled in Nepal. I then draw on the same theoretical approach to examine early marriage timing in the United States. In the context of Nepal, women's economic factors can both increase marriage rates and help buy economic independence to avoid early marriage, depending on how strong cultural and familial pressures are. Men's economic resources and pro-marriage cultural factors accelerate their transition to marriage, but under extreme cultural and familial pressure, economic factors have weaker effects. As to women's post-marriage education in Nepal, both women's and their parents' education level is related to their high rates of continuing schooling after marriage. Further, women whose parents had more involvement in their marriage formation are, in general, more likely to continue their education, compared to those who had more autonomy concerning their marriage decision. However, the relationship reverses at the level of university education, with more college women in love marriages continuing their education than college women in arranged marriages. In the context of the United States, earnings potential tends to suppress the effect of early marriage expectation on early marriage. Further, it is moderated by social norms embedded in specific social contexts. Where social norms favor early marriage, young people with good earnings potential speed up to marry early. This dissertation extends the economic and ideational approaches in family studies by examining the interaction between economic and ideational factors on marriage timing in different cultural contexts. I further reexamine the assumption of conflict between women's marriage timing and education pursuing in the Western, industrialized societies. Built upon contextually extracted hypotheses, finding suggests that women juggle marriage and education with the support of historic culture and local family structure and kinship network in Nepal.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology."
  • Pearce, Lisa D.
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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