Parental involvement in matchmaking may distort the choice of spouse because parents are willing to substitute love for market and household production, which are more sharable between parents and their children. This paper finds supportive evidence in a survey of Chinese couples. In both rural and urban areas, parent matchmaking is associated with less marital harmony between the couple, more submissive wives, and a stronger belief in old age support for the son. In contrast, its association with couple income differs by rural and urban regions, perhaps because of differences in earning opportunities and in the enforcement of the one-child policy. Moreover, parent matchmaking is associated with more children for the couple and lower schooling for wives only in rural areas. Thus, in places with a stronger need for old age support, parents tend to be involved in matchmaking and use it to select submissive daughters-in-law to ensure old age support. The results render support to Becker, Murphy and Spenckuch (2015), who imply that parents would meddle with children's preferences to ensure their commitment to providing old age support.
whilst this was a Chinese study, based upon the little I know of many traditional societies in Asia, Africa and also Latin America, this definitely has legs to stand true. It makes perfect sense. I have heard so many times that people look at their kids as their pensions. That’s the inter-generational compact if you will. One more reason perhaps why some mother in law’s in India are terrible to their daughter in laws despite the fact that they were also subject to similar inhumane treatment when they were daughter in laws.