On the timing of marriage, cattle, and weather shocks in rural Zimbabwe
The authors focus on the timing of marriages of women in rural Zimbabwe. Zimbabwean marriages are associated with bride welath payments, which are transfers from (the family of) the groom to the bride's family. Unmarried daughters could therefore be considered assets who, at time of need, can be cashed in. The authors investigate to what extent the timing of a marriage of a daughter is affected by the economic conditions of the household from which she originates. They distinguish household-specific wealth levels and two types of shocks--correlated (weather) shocks and idiosyncratic shocks. The authors estimate a duration model using a unique panel survey of Zimbabwean smallholder farmers. The estimation results support the hypothesis that the timing of marriage is affected by household characteristics. Girls from households that experiences a negative (idiosyncratic) shock in their assets are more likely to marry.
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