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Marriage and Assortative Matching in Rural Ethiopia

  • Marcel Fafchamps
  • Agnes Quisumbing

This paper examines the determinants of human and physical capital at marriage. Using detailed data from rural Ethiopia, we find ample evidence of assortative matching at marriage. Assets brought to marriage are distributed in a highly unequal manner. Sorting operates at a variety of levels – wealth, schooling, and work experience – that cannot be summarized into a single additive index. For first unions, assets brought to marriage are positively associated with parents’ wealth, indicating that a bequest motive affects assets at marriage. Unlike most brides, grooms appear to accumulate individual assets over time and over marriages. The marriage market is a major conduit for rural and gender inequality.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number WPS/2002-21.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:wps/2002-21
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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. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes Quisumbing, 2002. "Assets at Marriage in Rural Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-22, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  4. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & de la Briere, Benedicte, 2000. "Women's assets and intrahousehold allocation in rural Bangladesh," FCND discussion papers 86, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Marcel Fafchamps & Agnes R Quisumbing, 2000. "Control and Ownership of Assets Within Rural Ethiopian Households," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Ted Bergstrom, 1994. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Labor and Demography 9401001, EconWPA, revised 10 Oct 1994.
  7. Yang, Dennis, 1995. "Education and Off-Farm Work," Working Papers 95-09, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  8. Quisumbing, A.R., 1991. "Intergenerational Transfers in Philippine Rice Villages: Gender Differences in Traditional Inheritance Customs," Papers 632, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  9. Webb, Patrick & von Braun, Joachim & Yohannes, Yisehac, 1992. "Famine in Ethiopia: policy implications of coping failure at national and household levels," Research reports 92, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1995. "The Economics of Polygyny in Sub-Saharan Africa: Female Productivity and the Demand for Wives in Cote d'Ivoire," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 938-71, October.
  11. Roth,Alvin E. & Sotomayor,Marilda A. Oliveira, 1992. "Two-Sided Matching," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521437882.
  12. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  13. Fafchamps, Marcel & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 1998. "Human capital, productivity, and labor allocation in rural Pakistan," FCND discussion papers 48, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  14. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
  15. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, December.
  16. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Stark, Oded, 1989. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration, and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 905-26, August.
  17. Boulier, Bryan L & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1984. "Schooling, Search, and Spouse Selection: Testing Economic Theories of Marriage and Household Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(4), pages 712-32, August.
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