Three Essays on Work and Marital Satisfaction in China

Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Wei-Chiao Huang, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jean Kimmel, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Kevin Lee, Ph.D.


Marital satisfaction, remote work, work satisfaction


This dissertation comprises three research papers that delve into the relationship between the work characteristics of married Chinese employees and their individual satisfaction in both marriage and work. A common feature of these papers is the meticulous pairing of data, which ensures that each observation includes vital information about their respective spouses. This dataset allows me to conduct a comprehensive exploration of how spouses' work attributes influence individuals.

The first paper employs cross-sectional data to study whether how spouses met through work, and differences in their respective industries are related to their marital satisfaction. The results reveal that how spouses meet is unrelated to marital satisfaction. However, couples with larger differences in work tasks tend to have poorer marital satisfaction compared to others, and greater disparities in knowledge and skills are more beneficial to a marriage. Lastly, when predicting divorce rates for each province and comparing them to real data, it was noticed that the divorce rate in 2020 deviated from previous trends. I couldn't help but wonder if this was due to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this curiosity catalyzed the second paper.

To control the COVID-19 pandemic, the government implemented measures that led to more employees working from home rather than in offices. The second paper uses data collected from married respondents' answers about remote work to investigate whether such arrangements affect marital satisfaction. My results give a negative answer, but it could be mitigated when the frequency of remote work by their spouses increases. The paper also explores gender differences in the impact of remote work.

The focus of the third paper shifts from marriage to work itself, examining the effect of remote work on married employees. It finds that both genders experience increased job satisfaction as a result of remote work. However, this positive effect is attenuated when their spouses' remote work interferes with their remote work. Moreover, the article examines the differences between employees who are forced to work remotely for the first time and other employees who have had experience working remotely.

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