Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Major Advisor

Kristin Snopkowski, Ph.D.

Major Advisor

John Ziker, Ph.D.


Kathryn Demps, Ph.D.


Both sexes choose mates based on qualities that will enhance offspring viability and quality. In some cases individuals are forced to reproduce with less desirable mates which has been shown to result in lower quality offspring. The Reproductive Compensation Hypothesis (RCH) predicts that parents who mate under constraint will increase their reproductive effort and investment in offspring to compensate for lowered offspring viability. Evidence for the RCH has been found in several animal species; however it has not been examined in humans. One possible type of mate choice constraint in humans is that of arranged marriage in which parents or others choose mates for individuals. In order to test the RCH, I examine whether there are differences in both partner traits between women in arranged marriages and those in self-choice marriages, and differences in parental investment between women in arranged and self-choice marriages using data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey. Except for husband’s education level, no differences were found in mate characteristics between the husbands of women in self-choice marriages and those in arranged marriages. Marriage type did not significantly correlate with parental investment except for number of live births. This correlation, however, was not in the predicated direction. Results show that women in self-choice marriages had more offspring (controlling for marriage duration) than woman in arranged marriages. It is possible that arranged marriage is not a true constraint on mate choice or that parental investment measures used in this study need to be more refined.