Modernization, Life Course, and Marriage Timing in Indonesia

Thumbnail Image


umi-umd-3044.pdf (374.76 KB)
No. of downloads: 2488

Publication or External Link






Past research on marriage timing in Asia has found the modernization framework to be insufficient for explaining and understanding the processes of marriage and non-marriage. Using insights provided by research on marriage timing in Western societies, we examine the determinants of marriage and non-marriage for Indonesian men and women using the 1993 and 1997 waves of the Indonesian Family Life Survey dataset. Using a logit and a hierarchical model we examine the characteristics of unmarried men and women at time 1 who had married by time 2. We find that the basic correlates of the process of industrialization - education and work-force participation have counter-intuitive associations with marriage. While level of education does nothing to delay marriage, being enrolled in school keeps people away from marriage. Work force participation in contrast increases the odds of people's marriage while earnings from work have no effect. Based on our results we argue that the processes of marriage and non-marriage are best understood using a life course perspective. The life course perspective examines how the social context that people live in influences their lives, and determines their life trajectories, and the choices they make. Seen from this perspective, events such as marriage are a part of a person's life course that follows a normative sequence. People get married at that stage in their life when they are considered ready for it. When they are in school they are viewed as minors who are not suited to starting and raising a family whereas people who are working are viewed as adults who have the stability to take on the responsibilities of a married life.