Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2012

Brides for Sale: Cross-Border Marriages and Female Immigration

Abstract

Every year, a large number of women migrate as brides from developing countries to developed countries in East Asia. This phenomenon virtually did not exist in the early 1990s, but foreign brides currently comprise 4 to 35 percent of newlyweds in these developed Asian countries. This paper argues that two factors account for this rapid increase in "bride importation": the rapid growth of women's educational attainment and a cultural norm that leads to low net surplus of marriage for educated women. We provide empirical evidence supporting our theoretical model and its implications, using datasets from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore.

Keywords: Immigration; Gender Characteristics; Developing Countries and Economies; Education; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; East Asia; Japan; South Korea; Taiwan; Singapore;

Citation:

Kawaguchi, Daiji, and Soohyung Lee. "Brides for Sale: Cross-Border Marriages and Female Immigration." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 12-082, March 2012.