Actors and Structures
The chapter gives an overview of the universalities and varieties of marriage in pre-industrial Europe and Asia. It also presents the EAP model for analyzing marriage, based on rational choice theory and cost-benefit analysis, and closely related to the previous EAP studies on mortality and reproduction. Actors in the marriage market, i.e. individual marriage candidates and their families, weigh the costs and benefits of alternative decisions given the context of opportunities and constraints, choosing the option that is most beneficial and least costly. General incentives to marriage are hypothesized and unmarried individuals in the proper age were continuously exposed to marriage risks. The dimension of opportunities-constraints reflects the way that marriage costs, household context and community-level conditions influence the timing of marriage.
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