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Bride Wealth and Household Security in Rural Zimbabwe

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  • Marleen Dekker
  • Hans Hoogeveen

Abstract

In this paper we ask why Zimbabwean households pay bride wealth in instalments rather than a lump sum on the date of marriage. We also pose the question why the type of cattle that has to be paid is not exactly specified. Starting from the observation that in rural Zimbabwe risk markets are absent we show that flexibility in both timing and type of bride wealth payment enhances household security beyond what is feasible through income pooling between relatives related through marriage. The additional security results from the creation of a large pool of means-conditional, enforceable claims on assets that are vital for income generation and consumption smoothing purposes. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jafrec:v:11:y:2002:i:1:p:114-145
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    Cited by:

    1. Astrid Sneyers & Anneleen Vandeplas, 2013. "Girl Power in Agricultural Production: How Much Does it Yield? A Case-Study on the Dairy Sector in India," LICOS Discussion Papers 34113, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    2. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2010. "Relative income, network interactions and social stigma," IAMO Forum 2010: Institutions in Transition – Challenges for New Modes of Governance 52702, Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO).
    3. 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.
    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. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
    6. 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).
    7. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "Blood for Social Status: Preliminary Evidence from Rural China," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49411, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Chen, Xi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2009. "The Distribution of Income and Well-Being in Rural China: A Survey of Panel Data Sets, Studies and New Directions," MPRA Paper 20587, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Johannes Hoogeveen & Bas van der Klaauw & Gijsbert van Lomwel, 2011. "On the Timing of Marriage, Cattle, and Shocks," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 60(1), pages 121-154.
    10. Hans Hoogeveen & Bas van der Klaauw & Gijsbert van Lomwel, 2004. "On the Timing of Marriage, Cattle and Weather Shocks," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-073/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame & Sabates, Ricardo & Hernandez-Fernandez, Jimena, 2015. "On the impact of early marriage on schooling outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa and South West Asia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 42-55.
    12. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R. Quisumbing, 2006. "Household Formation and Marriage Markets," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-039, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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