For this presentation, James Raymo will use nationally representative data to describe basic characteristics of cohabiting unions in Japan. He will examine the correlates of cohabitation experience and evaluate the relationship between cohabitation and the transition to first marriage. He will also demonstrate that cohabitation has increased rapidly among recent cohorts of women and that cohabiting unions in Japan tend to be relatively short and almost as likely to dissolve as to result in marriage. Simple models for the timing and nature of first marriage suggest that cohabitation is only weakly associated with marriage timing. Results change dramatically when models are estimated that account for self-selection into cohabitation. Controlling for unobserved characteristics associated with both selection into cohabitation and first marriage, James Raymo finds that cohabitation experience itself is strongly associated with earlier marriage. He concludes with speculation about the likelihood of further increases in cohabitation and the potential implications for marriage and fertility.
James Raymo is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Center for Demography and Ecology. His main research focuses on Marriage and Family, Demography, Aging, Social Stratification, Methods and Contemporary Japanese Society. His doctoral thesis is entitled Spouse Selection and Marriage Timing in Japan. At present he serves as visiting scholar at Osaka University.