NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Raj Arunachalam

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Working Papers and Chapters

March 2008Is There Dowry Inflation in South Asia?
with Trevon Logan: w13905
This paper is the first systematic attempt to measure the existence and degree of dowry inflation in South Asia. The popular press and scholarly literature have assumed dowry inflation in South Asia for some time, and there are now a number of theoretical papers that have attempted to explain the rise of dowries in South Asia. Despite these advances, there has been no systematic study of dowry inflation. Using large-sample retrospective survey data from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal, we assess the empirical evidence for dowry infllation. We find no evidence that real dowry amounts have systematically increased over time in South Asia.
October 2006On the Heterogeneity of Dowry Motives
with Trevon D. Logan: w12630
Dowries have been modeled as pre-mortem bequests to daughters or as groom-prices paid to in-laws. These two classes of models yield mutually exclusive predictions, but empirical tests of these predictions have been mixed. We argue that the heterogeneity of findings can be explained by a heterogeneous world--some households use dowries as a bequest and others use dowries as a price. We estimate a model with heterogeneous dowry motives and use the predictions from the competing theories in an exogenous switching regression to place households in the price or bequest regime. Our empirical strategy generates multiple, independent checks on the validity of regime assignment. Using retrospective marriage data from rural Bangladesh, we find robust evidence of heterogeneity in dowry motives in the...

Contact and additional information for this authorAll papers and publicationsWorking Papers onlyWorking Papers with publication info

 
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