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Marriage as women's old age insurance : evidence from migration and land inheritance practices in rural Tanzania


  • Kudo, Yuya


In a traditional system of exogamous and patrilocal marriage prevalent in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, when she marries, a rural woman typically leaves her kin to reside with her husband living outside her natal village. Since a village that allows a widow to inherit her late husband's land can provide her with old age security, single females living outside the village are more likely to marry into the village. Using a natural experimental setting, provided by the longitudinal household panel data drawn from rural Tanzania for the period from 1991 to 2004, during which several villages that initially banned a widow's land inheritance removed this discrimination, this study provides evidence in support of this view, whereby altering a customary land inheritance rules in a village in favor of widows increased the probability of males marrying in that village. This finding suggests that providing rural women with old age protection (e.g., insurance, livelihood protection) has remarkable spatial and temporal welfare effects by influencing their decision to marry.

Suggested Citation

  • Kudo, Yuya, 2012. "Marriage as women's old age insurance : evidence from migration and land inheritance practices in rural Tanzania," IDE Discussion Papers 368, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper368

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Clemens, Michael A. & Özden, Çağlar & Rapoport, Hillel, 2014. "Migration and Development Research is Moving Far Beyond Remittances," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 121-124.
    2. Clemens, Michael A. & Özden, Çağlar & Rapoport, Hillel, 2015. "Reprint of: Migration and Development Research is Moving Far Beyond Remittances," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1-5.

    More about this item


    Tanzania; Social security; Women welfare; Land tenure; Aged; Migration; Demography; Gender empowerment; Land ownership; Social custom; Widowhood;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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