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A game model of dowry determination in an arranged marriage context


  • Amitrajeet Batabyal

    () (Department of Economics, Rochester Institute of Technology)


In many arranged marriage contexts, a mediator assists the bride and the groom's families in determining the actual amount of the dowry. Although social scientists in general and economists in particular have studied many aspects of dowries, to the best of our knowledge, the nature of the interaction between a mediator and the two concerned parties has not been analyzed previously in the literature. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to analyze a simple game model of dowry determination. Specifically, we first solve for the Nash equilibrium pair of final dowry offers from the two concerned parties. Next, we show how the equilibrium dowry offers optimally trade off the desire to make an assertive offer with the likelihood that this offer will be selected by the mediator.

Suggested Citation

  • Amitrajeet Batabyal, 2005. "A game model of dowry determination in an arranged marriage context," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(3), pages 1-8.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-05j10001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Amitrajeet Batabyal, 2004. "Meetings and exposure before an arranged marriage: a probabilistic analysis," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(8), pages 473-476.
    3. Dalmia, Sonia, 2004. "A hedonic analysis of marriage transactions in India: estimating determinants of dowries and demand for groom characteristics in marriage," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 235-255, September.
    4. 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, vol. 92(4), pages 1029-1043, September.
    5. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, July.
    6. 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.
    7. Amitrajeet Batabyal, 1998. "Aspects of Arranged Marriages and the Theory of Markov Decision Processes," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 241-253, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Batabyal, Amitrajeet & Yoo, Seung Jick, 2016. "Effort Application in an Arranged Marriage: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," MPRA Paper 74745, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Amitrajeet A Batabyal & Hamid Beladi, 2013. "Setting the dowry optimally to extract the full surplus: a contract theory perspective," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 2034-2041.
    3. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2007:i:12:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jeremy Bertomeu & Hamid Beladi, 2007. "Mediator learning and dowry determination in an arranged marriage setting," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(12), pages 1-10.
    5. Batabyal, Amitrajeet & Beladi, Hamid, 2007. "Mediator learning and dowry determination in an arranged marriage setting," MPRA Paper 71982, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development


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