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Bride Price and Fertility Decisions: Evidence from Rural Senegal

  • Mbaye, Linguère Mously

    ()

    (IZA)

  • Wagner, Natascha

    ()

    (ISS)

This paper is the first to provide evidence about the relationship between bride price payments and fertility decisions in the African context. Remarkably, the results show that bride price payments reduce fertility pressure, with a woman reducing her number of children by 0.5 at the mean bride price. The results are robust to different tests that we conduct to address the potential endogeneity between bride price payments and fertility decisions. As possible transmission channels, we find that poor women and men with low levels of education are the most negatively affected by the tradition of bride price payments. Furthermore, a lower bride price payment increases fertility pressure in polygamous households and for arranged marriages, while the bride price payment has no effect on the couple's decisions concerning fertility in monogamous households and for love marriages. Consequently, given that bride price payments have less power over (economically) independent women, empowerment will give leeway to girls in traditional societies, even if the bride price system is not overturned.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7770.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7770
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  1. 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.
  2. A. Colin Cameron & Jonah B. Gelbach & Douglas L. Miller & Doug Miller, 2009. "Robust Inference with Multi-way Clustering," Working Papers 98, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "On the Economics of Polygyny," Microeconomics 9410001, EconWPA.
  4. Philip H. Brown, 2009. "Dowry and Intrahousehold Bargaining: Evidence from China," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(1).
  5. Michele Tertilt, 2005. "Polygyny, Fertility, and Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1341-1370, December.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
  7. Sharma, Amarendra & Frijters, Paul, 2009. "Groom price-female human capital: Some empirical evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 270-279, March.
  8. Bishai, David & Grossbard, Shoshana, 2007. "Far Above Rubies: The Association Between Bride Price and Extramarital Sexual Relations in Uganda," IZA Discussion Papers 2982, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Siwan Anderson, 2007. "The Economics of Dowry and Brideprice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(4), pages 151-174, Fall.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
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