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Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan

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  • Hanan G. Jacoby
  • Ghazala Mansuri

Abstract

Can marriage institutions limit marital inefficiency? We study the pervasive custom of watta satta in rural Pakistan, a bride exchange between families coupled with a mutual threat of retaliation. Watta satta can be seen as a mechanism for coordinating the actions of two sets of parents, each wishing to restrain their son-in-law. We find that marital discord, as measured by estrangement, domestic abuse, and wife's mental health, is indeed significantly lower in watta satta versus "conventional" marriage, but only after accounting for selection bias. These benefits cannot be explained by endogamy, a marriage pattern associated with watta satta. (JEL J12, J16, O15, O18, Z13)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 100 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 1804-25

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1804-25

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1804
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Do, Quy-Toan & Iyer, Sriya & Joshi, Shareen, 2006. "The economics of consanguineous marriages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4085, The World Bank.
  2. Ahmed Mobarak & Randall Kuhn & Christina Peters, 2013. "Consanguinity and Other Marriage Market Effects of a Wealth Shock in Bangladesh," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(5), pages 1845-1871, October.
  3. Loken, Katrine Vellesen & Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Lundberg, Shelly, 2011. "Your Place or Mine? On the Residence Choice of Young Couples in Norway," IZA Discussion Papers 5685, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Do, Q-T & Iyer, S. & Joshi, S., 2006. "The Economics of Consanguinity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0653, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  5. Farre, Lidia, 2013. "The role of men in the economic and social development of women : implications for gender equality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6323, The World Bank.

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