Bride Wealth and Household Security in Rural Zimbabwe
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.
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Volume (Year): 11 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
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