Family Life Course Transitions and Household Economy in Dynamic Perspective: A Comparative Analysis of Households in China & Northern Vietnam

Feinian Chen, North Carolina State University

Addressing the impact of individual life course transitions upon the composition and economic orientation of households, we conduct an analysis of household economy in two societies undergoing development and market transition, China and Vietnam. Utilizing two household-based surveys, the Vietnam Longitudinal Survey (1995, 1998) and the China Health and Nutrition Survey (1993, 1997), we develop a comparative, longitudinal design that transcends a static image of households. Through logistic regression we investigate whether specific life course transitions, which contribute or subtract members from households (e.g., births, deaths, in-marriage, out-migration for employment or marriage), influence the emergence of market-oriented economic activities (i.e., sectoral diversification, household entrepreneurship, or wage employment). Our results indicate certain life course events do result in reconfiguration of household economic activities. For example, out-migration departures heighten the odds that households diversify economic activity across sectors. Observed reconfigurations in household economy are diverse, nuanced, and variable across rural-urban and national settings.

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Presented in Poster Session 6