Two Major Factors behind the Marriage Decline in Japan: The Deterioration in Macroeconomic Performance and the Diffusion of Individualism Ideology

Akihiko Kato, Meiji University

It is well known that Oppenheimer and Easterlin paid attention to the impact of young men's declining economic resources on marriage timing in the United States. In Japan, an event history analysis using nationwide life course data found that a major factor causing the marriage decline has been the expansion of disparities between social classes that has accompanied an economic slowdown and slump (Kato 2001). But marriage can be viewed not only as a rational economic choice made by individuals but also as a social institution supported by social practices, customs and norms. As revealed by sociologists and folklorists, various marriage practices and customs existed in traditional Japan, which could have worked as a socio-cultural system prompting young people to get married. In this paper, I incorporate socio-cultural factors into a discrete time logistic regression model with socio-economic variables using the data from National Family Research of Japan.

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Presented in Poster Session 2