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Pre-marital Confinement of Women: A Signaling and Matching Approach

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  • Birendra Rai
  • Kunal Sengupta

Abstract

Parents in several cultures `discipline' their daughters to inculcate the supposedly feminine virtues and improve their prospects in the marriage market. This process invariably involves imposing restrictions on their behavior, movement, and social relations. We formalize the idea that pre-marital confinement of women can be understood as an equilibrium outcome of a game of asymmetric information between parents of girls and prospective suitors. The paper presents a parsimonious framework involving signaling followed by matching in a marriage market where transfers are possible. The framework encompasses the different theories proposed by social scientists and permits a discussion of how socio-economic factors like rules of descent, production technology, and wealth inequality affect the likelihood of observing a norm of pre-marital confinement.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Monash University, Department of Economics in its series Monash Economics Working Papers with number 32-12.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mos:moswps:2012-32

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Keywords: Signaling; Matching; Norms; FGM;

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  1. Alesina, Alberto F & Giuliano, Paola & Nunn, Nathan, 2011. "On the origins of gender roles: women and the plough," CEPR Discussion Papers 8418, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  7. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
  8. Harold L. Cole & George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1995. "Incorporating concern for relative wealth into economic models," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 12-21.
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  11. Chesnokova Tatyana & Vaithianathan Rhema, 2010. "The Economics of Female Genital Cutting," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-28, July.
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