Premarital nest-leaving and first marriage in Japan

Setsuya Fukuda, Meiji University, Japan

The aim of this study is to investigate the causal linkage between residential independence and marriage timing in Japan. I examine the effects of premarital nest-leaving experience on the timing of first marriage. The implication of this study can be highly relevant to family formation of southern European countries where not only household formation patterns but also fertility levels are similar to Japan. I use the data from the 1998 survey of National Family Research of Japan (NFRJ98). The NFRJ98 data is a nationally representative retrospective survey of men and women at age of 28-77 in 1998. The birth cohorts of 1940-1970 will be chosen to analyze the relationship between nest-leaving and first marriage from the 1950s to the 1990s. This study employs piecewise-linear spline models to take into account not only proportional effects but also several duration dependencies of nest-leaving according to the reasons to leave parental home. I compared its patterns across sex and cohorts to shed a light on the gender context of opportunity structure and its change across cohorts. The preliminary results indicate that timing of nest-leaving affects hazard of first marriage differently across sex. While leaving home generally facilitates marriage for men, its effects are only weakly negative among college graduates in recent cohorts for women. One of the possible explanations for this finding may be that the need for domestic services is motivating men in solitude to marry earlier than men live with parents while this is not the case for women who take the lion’s share of the domestic chores after marriage. Another explanation is, however, simply as a result of the unobserved selection process due to the omission of income variables in models. Several explanations will be examined by detailed analyses taking into account time-dependent effects of nest-leaving on marriage timing.

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Presented in Session 29: Leaving home and family formation