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Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan

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  • Hanan G. Jacoby
  • Ghazala Mansuri

Abstract

Can marriage institutions limit marital inefficiency? We study the pervasive custom of watta satta in rural Pakistan, a bride exchange between families coupled with a mutual threat of retaliation. Watta satta can be seen as a mechanism for coordinating the actions of two sets of parents, each wishing to restrain their son-in-law. We find that marital discord, as measured by estrangement, domestic abuse, and wife's mental health, is indeed significantly lower in watta satta versus "conventional" marriage, but only after accounting for selection bias. These benefits cannot be explained by endogamy, a marriage pattern associated with watta satta. (JEL J12, J16, O15, O18, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Hanan G. Jacoby & Ghazala Mansuri, 2010. "Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1804-1825, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:100:y:2010:i:4:p:1804-25
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.100.4.1804
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anukriti, S & Dasgupta, Shatanjaya, 2017. "Marriage Markets in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10556, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Katrine Løken & Kjell Lommerud & Shelly Lundberg, 2013. "Your Place or Mine? On the Residence Choice of Young Couples in Norway," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 285-310, February.
    3. repec:kap:reveho:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11150-016-9340-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Sylvain Dessy & Setou Diarra & Roland Pongou, 2017. "Underage Brides and Grooms’ Education," Working Papers 1704E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
    5. Giulia La Mattina, 2014. "Civil Conflict, Sex Ratio and Intimate Partner Violence in Rwanda," Working Papers 0114, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    6. Do, Q-T & Iyer, S. & Joshi, S., 2006. "The Economics of Consanguinity," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0653, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    7. Quy-Toan Do & Sriya Iyer & Shareen Joshi, 2013. "The Economics of Consanguineous Marriages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 904-918, July.
    8. Makino, Momoe, 2015. "Marriage, dowry, and women's status in rural Punjab, Pakistan," IDE Discussion Papers 534, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    9. Ahmed Mobarak & Randall Kuhn & Christina Peters, 2013. "Consanguinity and Other Marriage Market Effects of a Wealth Shock in Bangladesh," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(5), pages 1845-1871, October.
    10. La Mattina, Giulia, 2017. "Civil conflict, domestic violence and intra-household bargaining in post-genocide Rwanda," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 168-198.
    11. Makino, Momoe, 2015. "Better than nothing? : dowry in the absence of the legal protection of women's inheritance rights," IDE Discussion Papers 537, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    12. Rama Lionel Ngenzebuke & Bram De Rock & Philip Verwimp, 2018. "The power of the family: kinship and intra-household decision making in rural Burundi," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 323-346, June.
    13. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2015. "Crossing boundaries: How social hierarchy impedes economic mobility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 135-154.
    14. Farre, Lidia, 2013. "The role of men in the economic and social development of women : implications for gender equality," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6323, The World Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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