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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. 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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  11. Lena Edlund & Evelyn Korn, 2002. "A Theory of Prostitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 181-214, February.
  12. Akerlof, George A, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617, November.
  13. In-Koo Cho & David M. Kreps, 1997. "Signaling Games and Stable Equilibria," Levine's Working Paper Archive 896, David K. Levine.
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