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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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    Cited by:

    1. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12203 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eiji Yamamura, 2017. "Identity, nostalgia and happiness among migrants: The case of the KÅ shien High School Baseball Tournament in Japan," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 792-813, December.
    3. Nicoletta Berardi, 2013. "Social networks and wages in Senegal’s labor market," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, December.
    4. Chinhui Juhn & Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan & Belgi Turan, 2013. "HIV and fertility in Africa: first evidence from population-based surveys," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 835-853, July.
    5. C. A. Etiegni & K. Irvine & M. Kooy, 2017. "Playing by whose rules? Community norms and fisheries rules in selected beaches within Lake Victoria (Kenya) co-management," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 1557-1575, August.
    6. Delia Furtado & Nikolaos Theodoropoulos, 2009. "Intermarriage and Immigrant Employment: The Role of Networks," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 3-2009, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    7. Mano, Yukichi & Yamano, Takashi & Suzuki, Aya & Matsumoto, Tomoya, 2011. "Local and Personal Networks in Employment and the Development of Labor Markets: Evidence from the Cut Flower Industry in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(10), pages 1760-1770.
    8. Junfu Zhang & Zhong Zhao, 2015. "Social-family network and self-employment: evidence from temporary rural–urban migrants in China," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    9. Yamauchi, Futoshi, 2007. "Marriage, schooling, and excess mortality in prime-age adults: Evidence from South Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 691, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Kudo, Yuya, 2015. "Female Migration for Marriage: Implications from the Land Reform in Rural Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 41-61.
    11. Crespin-Boucaud, Juliette, 2020. "Interethnic and interfaith marriages in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    12. Pramila Krishnan & Emanuela Sciubba, 2009. "Links and Architecture in Village Networks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 917-949, April.
    13. Chi Huu Nguyen & Christophe J. Nordman, 2018. "Household Entrepreneurship and Social Networks: Panel Data Evidence from Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(4), pages 594-618, April.
    14. Matz, Julia Anna, 2013. "Ethnicity, Marriage and Family Income," Discussion Papers 154935, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
    15. Anukriti, S & Dasgupta, Shatanjaya, 2017. "Marriage Markets in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10556, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    16. Yabiku, Scott T. & Agadjanian, Victor & Cau, Boaventura, 2012. "Labor migration and child mortality in Mozambique," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(12), pages 2530-2538.
    17. repec:dau:papers:123456789/14463 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. de Brauw, Alan & Mueller, Valerie & Lee, Hak Lim, 2014. "The Role of Rural–Urban Migration in the Structural Transformation of Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 33-42.
    19. Shing-Yi Wang, 2013. "Marriage Networks, Nepotism, and Labor Market Outcomes in China," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 91-112, July.
    20. Ming Lu & Jianzhi Zhao, 2009. "The Contribution of Social Networks to Income Inequality in Rural China: A Regression-Based Decomposition and Cross-Regional Comparison," Global COE Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series gd08-019, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    21. Hideaki Goto & Yukichi Mano, 2012. "Labor market competitiveness and the size of the informal sector," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 495-509, January.
    22. Chesnokova Tatyana & Vaithianathan Rhema, 2010. "The Economics of Female Genital Cutting," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-28, July.

    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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