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Marriage, dowry, and women's status in rural Punjab, Pakistan

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  • Makino, Momoe

Abstract

Dowry is a common custom observed in South Asian countries. It has been a target of an opposition movement because it is assumed to be a root cause of women's mistreatment, for example, in the form of sex-selective abortion, girls' malnutrition, female infanticide, and domestic homicide called "dowry murder." Despite its alleged evil consequences and the legal ban or restrictions on it, the custom has been extended, and recently, the dowry amount seems to be increasing. However, there is little empirical evidence of dowry's effects. This study empirically investigates the effects of dowry on women's status in rural Pakistan. We conducted a unique survey in rural Punjab, Pakistan, to explore the marriage practices there and to answer the research question. Results show that a higher dowry amount enhances women’s status in the marital household. This implies that an outright ban on dowries does not necessarily improve women's welfare at this time.

Suggested Citation

  • Makino, Momoe, 2015. "Marriage, dowry, and women's status in rural Punjab, Pakistan," IDE Discussion Papers 534, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper534
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pakistan; Women; Marriage; Social customs; Rural societies; Dowry; Intrahousehold decision making; Women’s status;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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