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New Roles for Marriage in Urban Africa: Kinship Networks and the Labor Market in Kenya

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  • Nancy Luke
  • Kaivan Munshi

Abstract

This paper explores new roles that traditionally rural kinship networks organized around the marriage institution might play in improving labor market outcomes in urban Africa. Using new data from Kisumu, Kenya, and controlling for selection into marriage, we find that marriage significantly increases employment levels and incomes in our sample of migrants. At the same time, marriage increases the remittances that migrants send to the extended family, consistent with the view that the benefits of the network come with additional social obligations. These obligations appear to be borne disproportionately by high-ability individuals, who consequently defer marriage. The negative selection into marriage that we uncover has consequences for the future viability of the urban networks, with implications for long-term growth and distribution in this economy. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy Luke & Kaivan Munshi, 2006. "New Roles for Marriage in Urban Africa: Kinship Networks and the Labor Market in Kenya," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 264-282, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:88:y:2006:i:2:p:264-282
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N37 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Africa; Oceania
    • N97 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - Africa; Oceania

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