Does the marriage with the man who is the eldest son bring happiness to women?: Evidence from Japan
The effect of birth order is one of the interesting topics in economics. Most studies using data from developed countries show adverse birth order effects, demonstrating that individuals with higher birth orders are more likely to have lower educational attainment and earnings. In addition, a growing number of studies reveal adverse effects on other outcomes, such as health, IQ, intelligence, and intergenerational effects. However, no studies have focused on the impact of birth order on other household members, such as spouses. In this paper, we assess the birth order effect on spouses using SWB as the measure. In particular, using the Japanese General Social Surveys (JGSS), this study examines the impact of the marriage with the husband, who is the eldest son, on the wife's happiness. The study results reveal four findings. First, the wife marrying the husband of the eldest son is less happy than the wife marrying the husband of the second or younger. In addition, the wife marrying a man who is the eldest son is less satisfied with the relationship with their spouse, the non-work activities, and the family life. Second, several satisfaction declines in the case of the recent wife's birth cohort, such as the 1970s and onwards, and the marriage with the husband of the eldest son with no siblings. Third, married men who are the eldest sons are more likely to have the view that the eldest sons are responsible for caring for aging parents and tend to support their parents' housework. Fourth, women marrying men who are the eldest sons have no difference in their preference for work and parenting, with women marrying men who are the second sons and younger.