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'Til Dowry Do Us Part: Bargaining and Violence in Indian Families

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  • Calvi, Rossella
  • Keskar, Ajinkya

Abstract

We develop a non-cooperative bargaining model with incomplete information linking dowry payments, domestic violence, resource allocation between a husband and a wife, and separation. Our model generates several predictions, which we test empirically using amendments to the Indian anti-dowry law as a natural experiment. We document a decline in women's decision-making power and separations, and a surge in domestic violence following the amendments. These unintended effects are attenuated when social stigma against separation is low and, in some circumstances, when gains from marriage are high. Whenever possible, parents increase investment in their daughters’ human capital to compensate for lower dowries.

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  • Calvi, Rossella & Keskar, Ajinkya, 2021. "'Til Dowry Do Us Part: Bargaining and Violence in Indian Families," CEPR Discussion Papers 15696, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15696
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    3. Tanu Gupta, 2022. "Women's inheritance rights and time use: Evidence from Hindu Succession Act in India," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2022-20, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Akyol, Pelin & Kırdar, Murat Güray, 2022. "Compulsory schooling reform and intimate partner violence in Turkey," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Domestic violence; Dowry; Non-cooperative bargaining; India; Marital surplus; Women's empowerment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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