Event Detail

Quoc-Anh Do, Visiting Associate Professor

Astrology and Matrimony: The Real Effects of Religious Beliefs about Marriage in Vietnam

Presented by:
Quoc-Anh Do, Visiting Associate Professor
Kellogg Public-Private Interface Initiative

Thursday, March 24, 2022
3:45 pm-5:00 pm
Taylor-Hibbard Seminar Room (Rm103)
Online - https://go.wisc.edu/esfdvx

This paper investigates the real consequences of religious beliefs on matrimonial fortune in Vietnam. We consider predictions on a couple's auspiciousness based on their birth years by Tử Vi, a pervasive system of religious beliefs based on ancient Chinese astrology. First, we estimate a structural model of assortative marriage matching market, and show that such beliefs in marriage fortune matter to people’s marriage matching, playing a role equivalent to 13%-20% of that of the entire age and education profile. Second, building on the structural estimation, we derive a control function for selection into marriage to estimate the effect of auspiciousness on household outcomes free of the selection bias. Auspiciousness increase household expenditure and income by 2-3%. It likely operates on a couple's social circle's aids in case of hardship, such as health shocks, which help reduce children's dropouts. Survey data on beliefs hint at relatives' strong beliefs that auspicious couples are more consonant and luckier, rather than other mechanisms based on discrimination or conformation to club norms.