IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/jecper/v21y2007i4p151-174.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice

Author

Listed:
  • Siwan Anderson

Abstract

Payments between families at the time of marriage have existed throughout the history of most developed countries and are currently pervasive in many areas of the developing world. These payments can be substantial enough to affect the welfare of women and a society's distribution of wealth. Recent estimates document transfers per marriage amounting to four to six times annual household income. This paper first establishes some basic facts about the prevalence and magnitude of marriage payments. It then discusses how such patterns vary across countries depending upon economic conditions, societal structures, institutions, and family characteristics. Marriage payments have evolved within societies over time: in some periods, payments have risen sharply; in some cases, payments have shifted from the grooms' side to the brides', and vice versa; sometimes, property rights over such payments shift between marrying partners and parental generations. The second part of this paper discusses the economic literature devoted to explaining these facts.

Suggested Citation

  • Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:4:p:151-174
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.4.151
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.21.4.151
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Botticini, Maristella, 1999. "A Loveless Economy? Intergenerational Altruism and the Marriage Market in a Tuscan Town, 1415–1436," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 59(1), pages 104-121, March.
    2. 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, vol. 101(4), pages 666-677, August.
    3. Marleen Dekker & Hans Hoogeveen, 2002. "Bride Wealth and Household Security in Rural Zimbabwe," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 11(1), pages 114-145, March.
    4. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
    5. Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Determinants of Gender Equity in India: Examining Dyson and Moore's Thesis with New Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 239-268, June.
    6. Junsen Zhang & William Chan, 1999. "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 786-808, August.
    7. Stuard, Susan Mosher, 1981. "Dowry Increase and Increments in Wealth in Medieval Ragusa (Dubrovnik)," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 795-811, December.
    8. Bishai, David & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2007. "Far Above Rubies: The Association Between Bride Price and Extramarital Sexual Relations in Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 2982, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Philip H. Brown, 2009. "Dowry and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
    10. William L. Parish & Robert J. Willis, 1993. "Daughters, Education, and Family Budgets Taiwan Experiences," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(4), pages 863-898.
    11. Raj Arunachalam & Trevon D. Logan, 2016. "On the heterogeneity of dowry motives," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 135-166, January.
    12. 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.
    13. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-971, October.
    14. Habibi, Nader, 1997. "An Economic Analysis of the Prenuptial Agreement (Mahrieh) in Contemporary Iran," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 281-293, January.
    15. Siwan Anderson, 2003. "Why Dowry Payments Declined with Modernization in Europe but Are Rising in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 269-310, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Shyamal Chowdhury & Debdulal Mallick & Prabal Roy Chowdhury, 2017. "Natural Shock and Marriage Markets: Evolution of Mehr and Dowry in Muslim Marriages," Discussion Papers 17-02, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.
    2. Srinivasan, Sharada & Bedi, Arjun S., 2007. "Domestic Violence and Dowry: Evidence from a South Indian Village," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 857-880, May.
    3. Linguère Mously Mbaye & Natascha Wagner, 2017. "Bride Price and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from Rural Senegal," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(6), pages 891-910, June.
    4. Jacob, Arun, 2016. "Gender Bias in Educational Attainment in India : The Role of Dowry Payments," MPRA Paper 76338, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Lucia Corno & Nicole Hildebrandt & Alessandra Voena, 2020. "Age of Marriage, Weather Shocks, and the Direction of Marriage Payments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(3), pages 879-915, May.
    6. Chowdhury, Shyamal & Mallick, Debdulal & Roy Chowdhury, Prabal, 2020. "Natural shocks and marriage markets: Fluctuations in mehr and dowry in Muslim marriages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    7. Raj Arunachalam & Trevon Logan, 2016. "On the heterogeneity of dowry motives," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 135-166, January.
    8. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R. Quisumbing & IFPRI, 2006. "Household Formation and Marriage Markets," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-039, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "Dowry and Property Rights," Working Papers id:1104, eSocialSciences.
    10. Calvi, Rossella & Keskar, Ajinkya, 2021. "'Til Dowry Do Us Part: Bargaining and Violence in Indian Families," CEPR Discussion Papers 15696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. 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.
    12. Momoe Makino, 2021. "Female labour force participation and dowries in Pakistan," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(3), pages 569-593, April.
    13. Nava Ashraf & Natalie Bau & Nathan Nunn & Alessandra Voena, 2020. "Bride Price and Female Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(2), pages 591-641.
    14. Lucia Corno & Nicole Hildebrandt & Alessandra Voena, 2016. "Weather Shocks, Age of Marriage and the Direction of Marriage Payments," DISCE - Working Papers del Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza def040, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    15. Alfano, Marco, 2017. "Daughters, dowries, deliveries: The effect of marital payments on fertility choices in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 89-104.
    16. Trevon D. Logan & Raj Arunachalam, 2014. "Is There Dowry Inflation in South Asia?," Historical Methods: A Journal of Quantitative and Interdisciplinary History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 81-94, June.
    17. Anderson, K.S., 2001. "Why Dowry Payments Declined With Modernisation in Europe but are Rising in India," Discussion Paper 2001-7, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    18. Momoe Makino, 2019. "Dowry in the absence of the legal protection of women’s inheritance rights," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 287-321, March.
    19. Brown, Philip H. & Bulte, Erwin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2011. "Positional spending and status seeking in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 139-149, September.
    20. Andrew Francis, 2011. "Sex ratios and the red dragon: using the Chinese Communist Revolution to explore the effect of the sex ratio on women and children in Taiwan," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 813-837, July.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:4:p:151-174. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.