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An economic model of early marriage

Zaki Wahhaj

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2018, vol. 152, issue C, 147-176

Abstract: To explain female adolescent marriage patterns around the world, we develop a marriage market model with asymmetric information about prospective marriage partners, and a noisy signal about the bride’s quality during an engagement. In equilibrium, there is a negative relationship between the age and perceived quality of women on the marriage market and, consistent with available evidence, older brides make higher net marriage payments. The model also implies path dependence in the evolution of adolescent marriage practices over time and persistent effects on marriage practices from transitory shocks. Model simulations show interventions which increase the opportunity cost of early marriage attenuates the association between bride quality and age, triggering a virtuous cycle of marriage postponement.

Keywords: Marriage market; Gender; Adolescent development; Fertility; Dowry (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D83 J12 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:152:y:2018:i:c:p:147-176