Implications of Rural/Urban Backgrounds on Conjugal Decision-Making Power in China

Yu Guo, University of Maryland

Prior research on conjugal decision-making power mainly examines differentials in resources and power bargaining strategies as its determinants. Set in the context of China’s massive rural-to-urban migration, this paper highlights the role of norm and socialization by contrasting the difference in husbands’ and wives’ rural/urban family backgrounds, as a factor in explaining marital decision-making power. Using data from Jiangsu Fertility Intention and Behavior Study, I first compare women’s power of decision-making across a four-category typology based on the rural/urban backgrounds of husbands and wives. Then I seek to understand whether the differences could be mediated by other individual characteristics (such as income and education) and other relevant factors. In addition, I test for moderating mechanisms such as parental influences through co-residence. This paper will not only contribute to the study of conjugal decision-making power in general, but also help gain an understanding of the marital power in currently transitional China.

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Presented in Poster Session 4