Polygyny, Women's Rights, and Development
Many Sub-Saharan African countries are extremely poor. It has been argued that the marriage system-in particular polygyny-is one contributing factor to the lack of development in this region. However, enforcing monogamy has proved to be very difficult. In this paper, I argue that transferring the right of choosing a husband from fathers to daughters might be an alternative policy that could potentially be easier to enforce. I use a calibrated general equilibrium model of polygyny to analyze such a policy. I find that giving daughters more choices has similar economic effects as a ban on polygyny. Both policies decrease the return on wives for men and thereby raise the incentive to invest in alternative assets. This increases the capital stock and hence GDP per capita. Quantitatively, however, I find that enforcing monogamy has much larger effects. (JEL: E0, O11, O55, J12, J13) (c) 2006 by the European Economic Association.
Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
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