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Is There Dowry Inflation in South Asia?

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  • Raj Arunachalam
  • Trevon Logan

Abstract

This paper is the first systematic attempt to measure the existence and degree of dowry inflation in South Asia. The popular press and scholarly literature have assumed dowry inflation in South Asia for some time, and there are now a number of theoretical papers that have attempted to explain the rise of dowries in South Asia. Despite these advances, there has been no systematic study of dowry inflation. Using large-sample retrospective survey data from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal, we assess the empirical evidence for dowry infllation. We find no evidence that real dowry amounts have systematically increased over time in South Asia.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13905.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13905

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  1. Lena Edlund, 2006. "The Price of Marriage: Net vs. Gross Flows and the South Asian Dowry Debate," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 542-551, 04-05.
  2. Anderson, Siwan, 2007. "Why the marriage squeeze cannot cause dowry inflation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 140-152, November.
  3. Raj Arunachalam & Trevon D. Logan, 2006. "On the Heterogeneity of Dowry Motives," NBER Working Papers 12630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Neelakantan, Urvi & Tertilt, Michèle, 2008. "A note on marriage market clearing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 103-105, November.
  5. Deolalikar, A.B. & Rao, V., 1990. "The Demand For Bride Characteristics And Dowry In Mariage: Empirical Estimates For Rural South India," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington, Department of Economics at the University of Washington 90-22, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  6. Lena Edlund, 2000. "The Marriage Squeeze Interpretation of Dowry Inflation: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1327-1333, December.
  7. Sudeshna Maitra, 2006. "Can Population Growth Cause Dowry Inflation? Theory and the Indian Evidence," Working Papers, York University, Department of Economics 2006_10, York University, Department of Economics.
  8. Anderson, K.S., 2001. "Why Dowry Payments Declined With Modernisation in Europe but are Rising in India," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2001-7, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  9. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  10. Banerjee, Abhijit & Duflo, Esther, 2006. "The Economic Lives of the Poor," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Rao, Vijayendra, 1993. "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 666-77, August.
  12. Dalmia, Sonia, 2004. "A hedonic analysis of marriage transactions in India: estimating determinants of dowries and demand for groom characteristics in marriage," Research in Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 235-255, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Zimmermann, Laura, 2012. "It's a Boy! Women and Non-Monetary Benefits from a Son in India," IZA Discussion Papers 6847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Afzal, Sarwat, 2009. "To Estimate An Equation Explaining The Determinants Of Dowry," MPRA Paper 16046, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Anja Sautmann, 2011. "Partner Search and Demographics: The Marriage Squeeze in India," Working Papers 2011-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  4. Marco Alfano, 2014. "Daughters, Dowries, Deliveries:The Effect of Marital Payments on Fertility Choices in India," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1413, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.

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