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Polygyny and the Economic Determinants of Family Formation Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa

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  • Tapsoba, Augustin

Abstract

This paper studies how short-term changes in aggregate economic conditions influence family formation outcomes in the presence of polygyny. It develops a simple marriage market framework with overlapping generations in which polygyny is modeled as a sequential one-to-one matching, and bride price acts as an important source of consumption smoothing. When there is a drought, the demand for second spouses (from older men) is more sensitive to the income and bride price drop than the demand for first/unique spouses (from younger men). This leads to an increase in the market share of younger men and a much smaller rise in the equilibrium quantity of female child marriage compared to the one observed in monogamous markets. The attenuation e˙ect is such that droughts have no detectable impact on the timing of marriage and fertility onset in high polygyny areas. Evidence from global crop price shocks confirms these patterns. It shows that higher food prices a˙ect marital outcomes in opposite directions in crop-producing and crop-consuming areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Tapsoba, Augustin, 2021. "Polygyny and the Economic Determinants of Family Formation Outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa," TSE Working Papers 21-1240, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:125854
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marriage market; local norms; polygyny; bride price; income shocks; informal insurance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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