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The Puzzle of Marriage Migration in India

  • Scott Fulford

    (Boston College)

Two thirds of all Indian women have migrated for marriage, around 300 million women, but little is known about this vast migration. This paper provides a detailed accounting of the puzzlingly large migration of Indian women and evaluates its causes. Contrary to conventional wisdom, marriage migration does not contribute to risk sharing. Nor is it driven by sex ratio imbalances. Instead, I introduce a simple model in which parents must search for a spouse for their daughter geographically. By adding geographical search frictions, the model helps rationalize the large regional differences.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 820.

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Date of creation: 31 Jan 2012
Date of revision: 22 Oct 2013
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:820
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Maitreesh Ghatak & Jeanne Lafortune, 2013. "Marry for What? Caste and Mate Selection in Modern India," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 33-72, May.
  2. Bahrman, J.R. & Birdsall, N. & Deolalikar, A., 1991. "Marriage Market , Labor Market and Unobserved Human Capital: An Empirical Exploration for South-Central India," Center for Development Economics 128, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. Francis Bloch & Vijayendra Rao & Sonalde Desai, 2004. "Wedding Celebrations as Conspicuous Consumption: Signaling Social Status in Rural India," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
  4. Anja Sautmann, 2011. "Partner Search and Demographics: The Marriage Squeeze in India," Working Papers 2011-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
  6. Rao, Vijayendra, 1993. "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 666-77, August.
  7. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  8. Siwan Anderson, 2003. "Why Dowry Payments Declined with Modernization in Europe but Are Rising in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(2), pages 269-310, April.
  9. Kawaguchi, Daiji & Lee, Soohyung, 2012. "Brides for Sale: Cross-Border Marriages and Female Immigration," IZA Discussion Papers 6458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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