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Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Caroline Krafft
  • Ragui Assaad

    () (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

This paper makes use of a series of comparable surveys to investigate the role of employment in enabling and constraining marriage for young men and women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. It draws on several key strains of theoretical literature, including the global and regional life course transitions literature and the literature on the economics of marriage, both globally and in the Middle East and North Africa. Three key empirical questions about the role of employment in enabling or constraining marriage are examined: (i) How do different labor market statuses affect the timing and probability of marriage? (ii) How much of the effect of employment statuses on marriage are mediated through different qualities of the job, such as the security and prestige of jobs or earnings and ability to save? and (iii) Does searching for a longer time for a formal job pay off as a strategy for accelerating marriage? Our findings confirm previous research which shows that for men both employment and the quality of that employment matter for the timing of marriage. The effect of public sector employment on raising the hazard of marriage increases after accounting for endogeneity in Egypt and Tunisia. For women, the results suggest that employment is endogenous to the timing of the marriage decision and once endogeneity is taken into account, we find that public sector employment substantially increases the hazard of marriage in all three countries. We also found that, from a perspective of speeding up marriage, it may be worthwhile for young people to remain in the unemployment state longer if that leads to obtaining a higher quality job.

Suggested Citation

  • Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1080, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1080
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Adachi, Hiroyuki, 2003. "A search model of two-sided matching under nontransferable utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 182-198, December.
    2. Ragui Assaad & Christine Binzel & May Gadallah, 2010. "Transitions To Employment And Marriage Among Young Men In Egypt," Middle East Development Journal (MEDJ), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 39-88.
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    4. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Easy Estimation Methods for Discrete-Time Duration Models," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 129-138, February.
    5. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline & Selwaness, Irene, 2017. "The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa," GLO Discussion Paper Series 66, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    6. Ragui Assaad, 2014. "Making sense of Arab labor markets: the enduring legacy of dualism," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, December.
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    1. Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline & Selwaness, Irene, 2017. "The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa," GLO Discussion Paper Series 66, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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