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Population Growth and Rising Dowries: The Long-Run Mechanism of a Marriage Squeeze

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  • Sudeshna Maitra

    ()
    (Department of Economics, York University)

Abstract

India has experienced a much-documented dowry inflation since the 1950s, which has been attributed to a spurt in population growth post-World War II. Will recent declines in fertility lead to a reversal of this trend and a regime of bride price? My paper develops a dynamic general equilibrium model of marriage markets, sex-ratio choice and population growth that is used to characterize the long-run relationship between population dynamics and marriage payments in India. I show that in the absence of exogenous sex preferences for offspring, and with no asymmetries between men and women except in desired ages of marriage (of self and spouse), any long run equilibrium will be characterized by an excess supply of brides, dowry payments and a masculine sex ratio.The result holds for parameters consistent with marriage market indicators in India.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by York University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2006_9.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:2006_9

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Keywords: Dowry; Marriage squeeze; Population growth;

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References

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  1. Fred Arnold & Sunita Kishor & T. K. Roy, 2002. "Sex-Selective Abortions in India," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 28(4), pages 759-785.
  2. Bloch, Francis & Rao, Vijayendra, 1999. "Terror as a Bargaining Instrument : A Case-Study of Dowry Violence in Rural India," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1999020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  3. Pollak, R.A., 1990. "Two-Sex Demographic Models," Working Papers 90-07, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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  7. Aloysius Siow & Xiaodong Zhu, 1998. "Differential Fecundity and Gender Biased Parental Investment," Working Papers siow-99-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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  10. Anderson, Siwan, 2007. "Why the marriage squeeze cannot cause dowry inflation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 140-152, November.
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  13. Robert Pollak, 1986. "A reformulation of the two-sex problem," Demography, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 247-259, May.
  14. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Credit Programs for the Poor And the Health Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 87-118, February.
  15. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 1998. "Credit Programs for the Poor and the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 98-4, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jan 1998.
  16. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
  17. Bergstrom, T. & Lam, D., 1991. "The Two-Sex Problem and the Marriage Squeeze in an Equilibrium Model of Mariage Market," Papers 91-7, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  18. Lena Edlund, 2000. "The Marriage Squeeze Interpretation of Dowry Inflation: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1327-1333, December.
  19. Sudeshna Maitra, 2006. "Can Population Growth Cause Dowry Inflation? Theory and the Indian Evidence," Working Papers 2006_10, York University, Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Brishti Guha, 2012. "Divorce Laws, Sex Ratios and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 19-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.

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