Muslim Family Law, Prenuptial Agreements, and the Emergence of Dowry in Bangladesh
AbstractWe explain trends in dowry levels in Bangladesh by drawing attention to an institutional feature of marriage contracts previously ignored in the literature: mehr or traditional Islamic bride-price. We develop a model of marriage contracts in which mehr serves as a barrier to husbands exiting marriage and a component of dowry as an amount that ex ante compensates the groom for the cost of mehr. We investigate how mehr and dowry respond to exogenous changes in the costs of polygamy and divorce, and show that our model gives a different set of predictions than traditional models. We show that major changes in dowry levels took place precisely after the legal changes, corresponding to simultaneous changes in levels of mehr. (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Volume (Year): 125 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
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- James Fenske, 2012.
"African polygamy: Past and present,"
CSAE Working Paper Series
2012-20, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
- Amitrajeet A Batabyal & Hamid Beladi, 2013. "Setting the dowry optimally to extract the full surplus: a contract theory perspective," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2034-2041.
- 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.
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