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Bride Wealth and Household Security in Rural Zimbabwe

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  • Marleen Dekker
  • Hans Hoogeveen

Abstract

In this paper we ask why Zimbabwean households pay bride wealth in instalments rather than a lump sum on the date of marriage. We also pose the question why the type of cattle that has to be paid is not exactly specified. Starting from the observation that in rural Zimbabwe risk markets are absent we show that flexibility in both timing and type of bride wealth payment enhances household security beyond what is feasible through income pooling between relatives related through marriage. The additional security results from the creation of a large pool of means-conditional, enforceable claims on assets that are vital for income generation and consumption smoothing purposes. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in its journal Journal of African Economies.

Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 114-145

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:11:y:2002:i:1:p:114-145

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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "Relative income, network interactions and social stigma," IAMO Forum 2010: Institutions in Transition – Challenges for New Modes of Governance 52702, Leib­niz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
  2. Brown, Philip H. & Bulte, Erwin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Positional spending and status seeking in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 139-149, September.
  3. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  4. Hans Hoogeveen & Bas van der Klaauw & Gijsbert van Lomwel, 2004. "On the Timing of Marriage, Cattle and Weather Shocks," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-073/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Hans Hoogeveen & Bas van der Klaauw & Gijsbert van Lomwel, 2004. "On the Timing of Marriage, Cattle and Weather Shocks," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-073/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "Blood for Social Status: Preliminary Evidence from Rural China," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49411, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  7. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2006. "Household Formation and Marriage Markets," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-039, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "The Distribution of Income and Well-Being in Rural China: A Survey of Panel Data Sets, Studies and New Directions," MPRA Paper 20587, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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