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The economics of consanguineous marriages

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  • Do, Quy-Toan
  • Iyer, Sriya
  • Joshi, Shareen

Abstract

The institution of consanguineous marriage-a marriage contracted between close biological relatives-has been a basic building block of many societies in different parts of the world. This paper argues that the practice of consanguinity is closely related to the practice of dowry, and that both arise in response to an agency problem between the families of a bride and a groom. When marriage contracts are incomplete, dowries transfer control rights to the party with the highest incentives to invest in a marriage. When these transactions are costly however, consanguinity can be a more appropriate response since it directly reduces the agency cost. The paper's model predicts that dowry transfers are less likely to be observed in consanguineous unions. It also emphasizes the effect of credit constraints on the relative prevalence of dowry payment and consanguinity. An empirical analysis using data from Bangladesh delivers robust results consistent with the predictions of the model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4085.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4085

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Keywords: Anthropology; Population Policies; Education and Society; Population&Development; Gender and Law;

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  1. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2000. "Competing Pre-marital Investments," Working Papers, University of Toronto, Department of Economics peters-00-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Do, Q-T & Iyer, S. & Joshi, S., 2006. "The Economics of Consanguinity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge 0653, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. La Ferrara, Eliana, 2003. "Kin Groups and Reciprocity: A Model of Credit Transactions in Ghana," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 3705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Hanan G. Jacoby & Ghazala Mansuri, 2010. "Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1804-25, September.
  5. Maristella Botticini & Aloysius Siow, 1999. "Why Dowries?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 95, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  6. 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.
  7. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Andrew F. Newman, 1990. "Occupational Choice and the Process of Development," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 911, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao, 2002. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument: A Case Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
  9. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2006. "Parental Wealth and Adult Children's Welfare in Marriage," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 496-509, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Hanan G. Jacoby & Ghazala Mansuri, 2010. "Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1804-25, September.
  2. Barbara Cavalletti & Corrado Lagazio & Daniela Vandone & Elena Lagomarsino, 2012. "The role of financial position on consumer indebted-ness. An empirical analysis in Italy," DEP - series of economic working papers, University of Genoa, Research Doctorate in Public Economics 8/2012, University of Genoa, Research Doctorate in Public Economics.
  3. 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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