IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Natural Shocks and Marriage Markets: Evolution of Mehr and Dowry in Muslim Marriages

Listed author(s):
  • Chowdhury, Shyamal

    ()

    (University of Sydney)

  • Mallick, Debdulal

    ()

    (Deakin University)

  • Chowdhury, Prabal Roy

    ()

    (Indian Statistical Institute)

We examine how mehr, a conditional payment from husbands to wives in the event of divorce, and dowry, a transfer from bride families to grooms at the time of marriage, have evolved through natural shocks. We develop a model of marriage market in which dowry acts as a groom price, whereas mehr serves to deter inefficient divorces. Our comparative statics results show that the value of mehr is increasing (decreasing) in shocks that raise (lower) income while the effect of such shocks on dowry is ambiguous; even if dowry increases (decreases), the magnitude will be smaller than the corresponding increase (decrease) in mehr. We then exploit several natural experiments in Bangladesh, that include the Green Revolution around the 1960s, the Independence War in 1971 and the famine of 1974, to explain fluctuations in the value of mehr and dowry observed in Muslim marriages. Using two household survey datasets in Bangladesh, we find support for our theoretical predictions. To rule out alternative explanations, in particular the effect of legal changes, we exploit another natural experiment from the Indian state of West Bengal that experienced the same natural shocks, but not any of the legal shocks affecting Bangladesh. These results demonstrate that natural shocks may influence the evolution of social institutions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp10675.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10675.

as
in new window

Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2017
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10675
Contact details of provider: Postal:
IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as
in new window


  1. 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 666-677, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Sekhri, Sheetal & Storeygard, Adam, 2014. "Dowry deaths: Response to weather variability in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 212-223.
  4. 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.
  5. Marianne Baxter & Robert G. King, 1999. "Measuring Business Cycles: Approximate Band-Pass Filters For Economic Time Series," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 575-593, November.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, June.
  7. Michael Peters & Aloysius Siow, 2002. "Competing Premarital Investments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 592-608, June.
  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. Siwan Anderson & Chris Bidner, 2015. "Property Rights over Marital Transfers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 130(3), pages 1421-1484.
  10. Philip H. Brown, 2009. "Dowry and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  11. Attila Ambrus & Erica Field & Maximo Torero, 2010. "Muslim Family Law, Prenuptial Agreements, and the Emergence of Dowry in Bangladesh," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1349-1397.
  12. Günter Hitsch & Ali Hortaçsu & Dan Ariely, 2010. "What makes you click?—Mate preferences in online dating," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 393-427, December.
  13. Raj Arunachalam & Trevon D. Logan, 2006. "On the Heterogeneity of Dowry Motives," NBER Working Papers 12630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
  15. Lena Edlund, 2000. "The Marriage Squeeze Interpretation of Dowry Inflation: A Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1327-1333, December.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10675. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.