Is There Dowry Inflation in South Asia?
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.