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Setting the dowry optimally to extract the full surplus: a contract theory perspective

Author

Listed:
  • Amitrajeet A Batabyal

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

  • Hamid Beladi

    () (Department of Economics, University of Texas at San Antonio)

Abstract

We study the contractual interaction between the fathers of a prospective groom and a prospective bride in a traditional society. Based on his valuation of the groom, the bride's father approaches the groom's father with an offer of marriage. The groom's father does not know the quality of the bride. Even so, he holds superior bargaining power. He uses this power to select the dowry optimally and this selection leads to a marriage between his son and the bride. We use a simple model and show that if the bride's father's risk aversion increases in his valuation of the groom then despite being asymmetrically informed, the groom's father can implement the first-best dowry contract and extract all the surplus from the bride's father.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-13-00284
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, January.
    3. Srinivasan, Sharada, 2005. "Daughters or dowries? The changing nature of dowry practices in south India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 593-615, April.
    4. Batabyal, Amitrajeet A., 2001. "On the likelihood of finding the right partner in an arranged marriage," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 273-280, May.
    5. 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.
    6. Amitrajeet Batabyal, 2005. "A game model of dowry determination in an arranged marriage context," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 10(3), pages 1-8.
    7. 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.
    8. Attila Ambrus & Erica Field & Maximo Torero, 2010. "Muslim Family Law, Prenuptial Agreements, and the Emergence of Dowry in Bangladesh," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1349-1397.
    9. Batabyal, Amitrajeet & Beladi, Hamid, 2007. "Mediator learning and dowry determination in an arranged marriage setting," MPRA Paper 71982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jeremy Bertomeu & Hamid Beladi, 2007. "Mediator learning and dowry determination in an arranged marriage setting," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(12), pages 1-10.
    11. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:15:y:2007:i:12:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Christina Peters, 2011. "Effects of family planning and health services on women’s welfare: evidence on dowries and intra-household bargaining in Bangladesh," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 327-348, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Contract; Dowry; Randomization; Risk Aversion; Uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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