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Adverse shocks, household expenditure and child marriage: evidence from India and Vietnam

Trong-Anh Trinh () and Quanda Zhang ()
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Trong-Anh Trinh: RMIT University
Quanda Zhang: Federation University Australia

Empirical Economics, 2021, vol. 61, issue 3, No 17, 1617-1639

Abstract: Abstract Child marriage is associated with negative outcomes in regard to education, health and economic empowerment in later life. While the consequences of child marriage have been studied extensively, there has been limited discussion on the drivers of child marriage. This paper examines the impact of adverse shocks on child marriage. We use a sample of 886 girls between 12 and 18 years of age from India and Vietnam involved in the Young Lives project. The potential endogeneity problem is addressed by using rainfall deviation as the instrument. We find that in Vietnam, where bride price payment is a common practice in the event of expenditure reduction resulting from adverse shocks, a household may consider marrying off their daughter as a possible coping strategy. In contrast, in India where dowry payments are common, shocks may reduce the probability of child marriage, possibly, because a girl’s family is unable to meet the dowry requirements. These findings are robust to alternative ways of measuring child marriage, expenditure and rainfall deviation. We recommend that policies designed to reduce child marriage are considered in the context of cultural and social norms.

Keywords: Child marriage; Financial shocks; Household expenditure; India; Vietnam (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00181-020-01907-2

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