NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2017||Age of Marriage, Weather Shocks, and the Direction of Marriage Payments|
with Lucia Corno, Alessandra Voena: w23604
This paper studies how aggregate economic conditions affect marriage markets in developing countries where marriage is regulated by traditional customary norms. We examine how local economic shocks influence the timing of marriage, and particularly child marriage, in Sub-Saharan Africa and in India, where substantial monetary or in-kind transfers occur with marriage: bride price across Sub-Saharan Africa and dowry in India. In a simple equilibrium model of the marriage market in which parents choose when their children marry, income shocks affect the age of marriage because marriage payments are a source of consumption smoothing, particularly for a woman's family. As predicted by our model, we show that droughts, which reduce annual crop yields by 10 to 15%, have opposite effects on the ma...