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Correlates of Kin Marriage in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia

Rania Salem () and Sarah Shah
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Rania Salem: University of Toronto

No 1067, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: Although kin marriage is widely practiced in the MENA, the rationales that are thought to motivate kin marriage have not been widely tested. We test three rationales for kin unions among ever-married women using the Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia Labor Market Surveys. The first rationale for kin unions is to consolidate family property and avoid its fragmentation through the marriage of relatives. We find that the first rationale is supported only by the Tunisian data, where women whose parents worked in a family firm were more likely to marry relatives in some models. A second rationale is to reduce the financial outlays made on marriage. We find that kin unions involved lower matrimonial expenditures and more expenditures by the groom’s side in Egypt alone, thus partially confirming the second rationale. A third rationale motivating kin marriage is the belief that brides who marry relatives will enjoy advantages vis-a-vis their husbands and in-laws. Here, we find that Egyptian and Tunisian women in kin unions had less decision-making influence, contrary to our expectations, whereas Jordanian women in kin unions had more decision-making influence.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara
Date: 2016-01-12, Revised 2016-01-12
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