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The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Author

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  • Assaad, Ragui
  • Krafft, Caroline
  • Selwaness, Irene

Abstract

Marriage is a central stage in the transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This paper builds on the existing literature on the effect of marriage on women’s employment in MENA. Besides examining how different types of work are affected by early marriage (defined as marriage by the median age of marriage) in a multivariate setting, the contribution of this paper is to endogenize the marriage decision using an instrumental variable approach. We find that marriage by the median age reduces the probability of working for women by 47 percent in Jordan, 33 percent in Tunisia and 16 percent in Egypt. Much of the effect is due to a reduction in the probability of private wage work, which is reduced by 76 percent in Jordan, 57 percent in Tunisia and 40 percent in Egypt. Differences emerge across the three countries in the extent to which self-employment after marriage is available to women to compensate for the reduction in wage employment opportunities.

Suggested Citation

  • Assaad, Ragui & Krafft, Caroline & Selwaness, Irene, 2017. "The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa," GLO Discussion Paper Series 66, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. World Bank, 2008. "The Road Not Traveled : Education Reform in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6303, January.
    2. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Efficient estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 231-250, November.
    3. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, January.
    4. Ragui Assaad, 2014. "Making sense of Arab labor markets: the enduring legacy of dualism," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-25, December.
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    7. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, December.
    8. Rana Hendy, 2015. "Women's Participation in the Egyptian Labor Market: 1998-2012," Working Papers 907, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
    9. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft, 2016. "Labor Market Dynamics and Youth Unemployment in the Middle East and North Africa: Evidence from Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia," Working Papers 993, Economic Research Forum, revised Apr 2016.
    10. 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..
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    12. Austin Nichols, 2011. "Causal inference for binary regression with observational data," CHI11 Stata Conference 6, Stata Users Group.
    13. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1080, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.
    14. Assaad, Ragui (ed.), 2014. "The Jordanian Labor Market in the New Millennium," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198702054.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ragui Assaad & Samir Ghazouani & Caroline Krafft, 2017. "The Composition of Labor Supply and Unemployment in Tunisia," Working Papers 1150, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 Jan 2017.
    2. Assaad, Ragui & Hendy, Rana & Lassassi, Moundir & Yassin, Shaimaa, 2018. "Explaining the MENA Paradox: Rising Educational Attainment, Yet Stagnant Female Labor Force Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Ragui Assaad & Samir Ghazouani & Caroline Krafft, 2017. "Marriage, Fertility, and Women’s Agency in Tunisia," Working Papers 1157, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 2017.
    4. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2017. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Working Papers 1080, Economic Research Forum, revised 04 Oct 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of marriage; labor markets; employment; age at marriage; gender; Middle East and North Africa;

    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
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J46 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Informal Labor Market
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East

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