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

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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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    15. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2020. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(6), pages 2297-2325, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maye Ehab, 2018. "The Commuting Gender Gap and Females’ Participation and Earnings in the Egyptian Labor Market," Working Papers 1211, Economic Research Forum, revised 21 Jun 2018.
    2. Lassassi, Moundir & Tansel, Aysit, 2020. "Female Labor Force Participation in Five Selected MENA Countries: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Tunisia)," GLO Discussion Paper Series 693, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Caroline Krafft & Ragui Assaad, 2020. "Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 57(6), pages 2297-2325, December.
    4. Ragui Assaad & Rana Hendy & Moundir Lassassi & Shaimaa Yassin, 2020. "Explaining the MENA paradox: Rising educational attainment yet stagnant female labor force participation," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 43(28), pages 817-850.
    5. Caroline Krafft, 2020. "Why is fertility on the rise in Egypt? The role of women’s employment opportunities," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 1173-1218, October.
    6. Ragui Assaad & Caroline Krafft & Colette Salemi, 2019. "Socioeconomic Status and the Changing Nature of School-to-Work Transitions in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia," Working Papers 1287, Economic Research Forum, revised 2019.
    7. Caroline Krafft & Reham Rizk, 2018. "The Promise and Peril of Youth Entrepreneurship in MENA," Working Papers 1257, Economic Research Forum, revised 19 Nov 2018.
    8. Krafft Caroline & Assaad Ragui, 2021. "Introducing the Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey 2016," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 12(1), pages 1-42, January.
    9. Moundir Lassassi & Aysit Tansel, 2020. "Female labor force participation in five selected MENA countries: An age-period-cohort analysis," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 2018, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    10. Ragui Assaad & Ghada Barsoum, 2019. "Public employment in the Middle East and North Africa," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 463-463, August.
    11. Abeer Mohamed Ali Abd Elkhalek, 2019. "Economic Development and Participation of Women in Services Sector: Empirical Evidence from Egypt," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 11(2), pages 155-164, February.
    12. Irene Selwaness & Caroline Krafft, 2021. "The Dynamics of Family Formation and Women’s Work: What Facilitates and Hinders Female Employment in the Middle East and North Africa?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 40(3), pages 533-587, June.
    13. 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.
    14. Yount, Kathryn M. & Crandall, AliceAnn & Cheong, Yuk Fai, 2018. "Women’s Age at First Marriage and Long-Term Economic Empowerment in Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 124-134.
    15. Ragui Assaad & Samir Ghazouani & Caroline Krafft, 2017. "Marriage, Fertility, and Women’s Agency in Tunisia," Working Papers 1157, Economic Research Forum, revised 11 2017.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics of marriage; labor markets; employment; age at marriage; gender; Middle East and North Africa;
    All these keywords.

    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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