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Marriage and Power: Age at first marriage and spousal age gap in Lesser Developed Countries

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  • Sarah Guilland Carmichael

Abstract

This paper examines age at first marriage for women and spousal age gap as an indicator for female agency from 1950 until 2005. Using a dataset of 77 LDCs this paper seeks to explore which variables determine differences at a country level in marriage patterns. We look at the influence of urbanisation, education, percentage population of Muslim faith, and family type. We find that education is key in determining at what age women marry, having as would be expected a positive effect on age at first marriage and depressing spousal age gap. Urbanisation is significant, with a positive effect on age and negative on spousal age gap, although the effect is not very large. The percentage Muslim variable depresses female age at first marriage and increases spousal age gap but only when family type is not controlled for. The initially strong negative effect of percentage population Muslim over the period under consideration on age of first marriage has decreased, which raises some interesting questions about the role of Islam in female empowerment.

Suggested Citation

  • Sarah Guilland Carmichael, 2011. "Marriage and Power: Age at first marriage and spousal age gap in Lesser Developed Countries," Working Papers 0015, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0015
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    File URL: http://www.cgeh.nl/sites/default/files/WorkingPapers/CGEH.WP_.No15.Carmichael.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Malanima, Paolo, 2005. "Urbanisation and the Italian economy during the last millennium," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(01), pages 97-122, April.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-846, July-Aug..
    3. Gilles Duranton & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Richard Sandall, 2007. "Family Types and the Persistence of Regional Disparities in Europe," Bruges European Economic Research Papers 10, European Economic Studies Department, College of Europe.
    4. Jennifer Olmsted, 2005. "Gender, Aging, And The Evolving Arab Patriarchal Contract," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 53-78.
    5. Tine De Moor & Jan Luiten Van Zanden, 2010. "Girl power: the European marriage pattern and labour markets in the North Sea region in the late medieval and early modern period -super-1," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 63(1), pages 1-33, February.
    6. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 11-26, Part II, .
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Auke Rijpma & Sarah Guilland Carmichael, 2015. "Testing Todd and Matching Murdock: Global Data on Historical Family Characteristics," Working Papers 0072, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
    2. Anukriti, S & Dasgupta, Shatanjaya, 2017. "Marriage Markets in Developing Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 10556, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Julia Anna Matz, 2016. "Productivity, Rank, and Returns in Polygamy," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(5), pages 1319-1350, October.
    4. Alexander Stimpfle & David Stadelmann, 2016. "Marriage Age Affects Educational Gender Inequality: International Evidence," CREMA Working Paper Series 2016-02, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    5. Silvana Maubrigades, 2015. "Connections between women`s age at marriage and social and economic development," Documentos de trabajo 39, Programa de Historia Económica, FCS, Udelar.
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11404 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame & Sabates, Ricardo & Hernandez-Fernandez, Jimena, 2015. "On the impact of early marriage on schooling outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa and South West Asia," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 42-55.
    8. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame & Dunne, Máiréad, 2017. "Intergenerational Education Effects of Early Marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 173-192.
    9. José Ortega, 2014. "A Characterization of World Union Patterns at the National and Regional Level," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 33(2), pages 161-188, April.

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    Keywords

    Marriage patterns; female agency; age at first marriage; spousal age gap;

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