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Modernization, inter-caste marriage, and dowry: An analytical perspective

  • Self, Sharmistha
  • Grabowski, Richard
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    As economic growth and development occurs in India, it has been thought that dowry would decline as an institution. However, the practice of dowry has rapidly spread to regions in India where previously it was not extensively practiced and dowry inflation may be occurring. In this paper, a simple analytical model of dowry, based upon caste determined status differentials, is developed. The model assumes that some inter-caste marriage occurs. The implications of the model are that gross dowry inflation is fueled by economic growth, but net dowry remains unchanged. More importantly, unequal growth stimulates an expansion of the practice of dowry to lower castes.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Asian Economics.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 69-76

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:20:y:2009:i:1:p:69-76
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    1. Osborne, Evan, 2001. "Culture, Development, and Government: Reservations in India," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(3), pages 659-85, April.
    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. Lena Edlund, 2006. "The Price of Marriage: Net vs. Gross Flows and the South Asian Dowry Debate," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(2-3), pages 542-551, 04-05.
    4. 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.
    5. Sajal Lahiri & Sharmistha Self, 2007. "Gender Bias in Education: the Role of Inter-household Externality, Dowry and other Social Institutions," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 591-606, November.
    6. 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.
    7. 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 666-77, August.
    8. Raj Arunachalam & Trevon D. Logan, 2006. "On the Heterogeneity of Dowry Motives," NBER Working Papers 12630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Filmer, Deon & King, Elizabeth M. & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Gender disparity in South Asia : comparisons between and within countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1867, The World Bank.
    10. Chaudhuri, Shubham & Ravallion, Martin, 2006. "Partially awakened giants : uneven growth in China and India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4069, The World Bank.
    11. Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
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