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Here waits the bride? The effect of Ethiopia's child marriage law

Tamara McGavock

Journal of Development Economics, 2021, vol. 149, issue C

Abstract: Child marriage is still common in the developing world: in 2012, one in three women was married by age 18, with more than 10% married before age 15. Beginning in 2000, Ethiopia's semi-autonomous regions raised the legal minimum age of marriage from 15 to 18. This study leverages the natural experiment arising from the staggered roll out of the policy in a difference-in-differences and event study framework. The results suggest that the reform delayed women's marriage, and in particular delayed marriages of girls under 16 by about 17 percent (6.8 percentage points) in areas where early marriage was more common prior to the reform. However, the effect of the reform, though larger, is insignificant among women belonging to ethnic groups with the strongest norms toward early marriage. Women's fertility was delayed and may be lower over their lifetimes.

Keywords: Early marriage; Fertility; Harmful traditional practices; Women's empowerment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2020.102580

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