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Assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia

  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Agnes Quisumbing

This paper examines the determinants of assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia. We find ample evidence of assertive matching at marriage. Assets brought to marriage are distributed in a highly unequal manner. Sorting operates at a variety of levels - wealth, schooling, and work experience - that cannot be summarized into a single additive index. For first unions, assets brought to marriage are positively associated with parents’ wealth, indicating that a bequest motive affects assets at marriage. Unlike most brides, grooms appear to accumulate individual assets over time and over marriages. Parents act strategically in the sense that they bequeath more assets at marriage if this results in a better prospective spouse. The marriage market is a major conduit for rural and gender inequality.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2000-28.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2000-28
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R Quisumbing, 2000. "Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "A Natural Experiment in the Organization of Entry-Level Labor Markets: Regional Markets for New Physicians and Surgeons in the United Kingdom," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 415-40, June.
  3. Stark, Oded & Lucas, Robert E B, 1988. "Migration, Remittances, and the Family," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(3), pages 465-81, April.
  4. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Estudillo, Jonna P. & Otsuka, Keijiro (ed.), 2003. "Land and schooling: Transferring wealth across generations," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 0-8018-7842-X.
  5. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
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  7. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Estudillo, Jonna P. & Otsuka, Keijiro, 2004. "Land and schooling," Food policy statements 41, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Weiss, Y., 1993. "The Formation and Dissolution of Families: Why Marry? Who Maries Whom? and what Happens Upon Divorce?," Papers 15-93, Tel Aviv.
  9. Demange, Gabrielle & Gale, David, 1985. "The Strategy Structure of Two-sided Matching Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(4), pages 873-88, July.
  10. Andrew D. Foster, 1995. "Analysis of Household Behavior when Households Choose Their Members: Marriage-Market Selection and Human Capital Allocations in Rural Bangladesh," Home Pages _078, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Alkan, Ahmet & Gale, David, 1990. "The core of the matching game," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 203-212, September.
  12. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & de la Briere, Benedicte, 2000. "Women's assets and intrahousehold allocation in rural Bangladesh," FCND discussion papers 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  14. Vijayendra Rao, . "The Rising Price of Husbands: A Hedonic Analysis of Dowry Increases in Rural India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-6, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  15. Joseph Henrich & Robert Boyd & Samuel Bowles & Colin Camerer & Ernst Fehr & Herbert Gintis & Richard McElreath & Michael Alvard & Abigail Barr & Jean Ensminger & Kim Hill & Francisco Gil-White & Micha, 2001. "Economic Man in Cross-Cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in Fifteen Small-Scale Societies," Working Papers 01-11-063, Santa Fe Institute.
  16. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes Quisumbing, 2002. "Marriage and Assortative Matching in Rural Ethiopia," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2002-21, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  17. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, August.
  18. Roth, Alvin E & Vande Vate, John H, 1990. "Random Paths to Stability in Two-Sided Matching," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(6), pages 1475-80, November.
  19. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND briefs 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  20. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  21. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
  22. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Labor and Demography 9401001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  23. Webb, Patrick & von Braun, Joachim & Yohannes, Yisehac, 1992. "Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels," Research reports 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  24. Agnes R. Quisumbing & John A. Maluccio, 2003. "Resources at Marriage and Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Africa," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(3), pages 283-327, 07.
  25. Mongell, Susan & Roth, Alvin E, 1991. "Sorority Rush as a Two-Sided Matching Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 441-64, June.
  26. Haddad, Lawrence James & Adato, Michelle, 2001. "How effectively do public works programs transfer benefits to the poor?," FCND briefs 108, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  27. Board, Raymond, 1994. "Measuring the Instability in Two-Sided Matching Procedures," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 561-77, May.
  28. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-71, October.
  29. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1999. "Social roles, human capital, and the intrahousehold division of labor," FCND discussion papers 73, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  30. Roth, Alvin E. & Sotomayor, Marilda, 1988. "Interior points in the core of two-sided matching markets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 85-101, June.
  31. Junsen Zhang & William Chan, 1999. "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 786-808, August.
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