While parental matchmaking has been widespread throughout history and across countries, we know little about the relationship between parental matchmaking and marriage outcomes. Does parental involvement in matchmaking help ensure their needs are better taken care of by married children? This paper finds supportive evidence using a survey of Chinese couples. In particular, parental involvement in matchmaking is associated with having a more submissive wife, a greater number of children, a higher likelihood of having any male children, and a stronger belief of the husband in providing old age support to his parents. These benefits, however, are achieved at the cost of less marital harmony within the couple and lower market income of the wife. The results render support to and extend the findings of Becker, Murphy and Spenkuch (2015) where parents meddle with children’s preferences to ensure their commitment to providing parental goods such as old age support.Much of this is just going to be the difference between the kind of people who let their parents make their match and the ones who insist on doing it themselves. But I was struck by the finding that people in parentally-arranged marriages are less happily married but more likely to take care of their aging parents. You can generally count on people to look after their own interests.
The paper is paywalled and the abstract doesn't say how big these effects are. I would bet they aren't very big, since all the other data I have seen on arranged vs. self-made marriages finds only small differences in satisfaction.