Marriage Institutions and Sibling Competition: Evidence from South Asia
AbstractUsing data from South Asia, this paper examines how arranged marriage cultivates rivalry among sisters. During marriage search, parents with multiple daughters reduce the reservation quality for an older daughter's groom, rushing her marriage to allow sufficient time to marry off her younger sisters. Relative to younger brothers, younger sisters increase a girl’s marriage risk; relative to younger singleton sisters, younger twin sisters have the same effect. These effects intensify in marriage markets with lower sex ratios or greater parental involvement in marriage arrangements. In contrast, older sisters delay a girl’s marriage. Because girls leave school when they marry and face limited earnings opportunities when they reach adulthood, the number of sisters has well-being consequences over the lifecycle. Younger sisters cause earlier school-leaving, lower literacy, a match to a husband with less education and a less-skilled occupation, and (marginally) lower adult economic status. Data from a broader set of countries indicate that these cross-sister pressures on marriage age are common throughout the developing world, although the schooling costs vary by setting.
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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- O12 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-08-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEM-2012-08-23 (Demographic Economics)
- NEP-DEV-2012-08-23 (Development)
- NEP-LAB-2012-08-23 (Labour Economics)
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