Understanding Chinese Families: A Comparative Study of Taiwan and Southeast China

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This book provides the reader with a comprehensive introduction to the distinguishing features of Chinese families. This first full scale study seeks to understand Chinese families within the Chinese social context and draws comparisons with existing western theories and models of the family. It also explores the connection between two Chinese societies across the Taiwan Strait and investigates if the unique features of Chinese families can be applied to broaden the scope of family analysis in general. This book covers ten core areas, including co-residence, marriage, fertility, education, mobility, gender preferences, family supports, filial feedbacks, housework allocation, and the dynamics of family norm changes.

The book uses theory-based empirical studies with data collected from a unique panel survey conducted in various areas across the Taiwan Strait, namely Taiwan and Southeast China. The two focal points of the study are geographically close, ethnically homogeneous, and are open to the modern market economy. A comprehensive analysis of these two areas provides new insights into the similarities and differences of Chinese families, to what extent they are distinct from Western ones, and how these similarities and differences were formed. The uniquely complex nature of intra-family interactions in Chinese families and the rapidly changing social background against which these interactions occur make this a hugely fascinating topic.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199578092
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

C. Y. Cyrus Chu received his PhD in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1985 Dr Chu joined the faculty of Economics of the National Taiwan University, he is also currently Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica. His research interests include demographic economics, family economics, public finance, and economic analysis of law. His publications include Population Dynamics: A New Economic Approach (OUP, 1998) and numerous articles in professional journals including American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Demography, and Economica. Dr. Chu now serves as an editorial board member of five professional international journals. In 1998, Dr. Chu was elected as the then youngest Academician of Academia Sinica. In 2003, he was granted the Presidential Science Award of Taiwan, and is still the only recipient of this award in social science and humanities in Taiwan. Ruoh-Rong Yu received her PhD in economics from the National Taiwan University. In 2003, she joined the Centre for Survey Research of Academia Sinica as an associate fellow. Her research interests include family economics, labour economics, and survey research. Her articles have been published in professional journals including Sociology of Education, Social Science Research, Population and Development Review, and the Journal of Theoretical Biology. She has participated in the establishment of some nation-wide survey projects of Taiwan, which include the Panel Study of Family Dynamics, Taiwan Genomic Survey, and Social Capital Survey.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables


1 Introduction to Chinese Families

2 Social Backgrounds of China and Taiwan

3 Co-residence and Family Size

4 Family Fertility

5 Marriage Patterns

6 Housework and Household Decisions

7 Revealed Son Preferences

8 The Role of the Family in Child Education

9 Intergenerational Mobility

10 Family Reciprocal Supports

11 Parental Transfers and Child Feedbacks

12 Changing Gender Preferences in Taiwan

13 Concluding Remarks



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