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Employment’s Role in Enabling and Constraining Marriage in the Middle East and North Africa

Caroline Krafft and Ragui Assaad ()

No 1080, Working Papers from Economic Research Forum

Abstract: This paper makes use of a series of comparable surveys to investigate the role of employment in enabling and constraining marriage for young men and women in Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia. It draws on several key strains of theoretical literature, including the global and regional life course transitions literature and the literature on the economics of marriage, both globally and in the Middle East and North Africa. Three key empirical questions about the role of employment in enabling or constraining marriage are examined: (i) How do different labor market statuses affect the timing and probability of marriage? (ii) How much of the effect of employment statuses on marriage are mediated through different qualities of the job, such as the security and prestige of jobs or earnings and ability to save? and (iii) Does searching for a longer time for a formal job pay off as a strategy for accelerating marriage? Our findings confirm previous research which shows that for men both employment and the quality of that employment matter for the timing of marriage. The effect of public sector employment on raising the hazard of marriage increases after accounting for endogeneity in Egypt and Tunisia. For women, the results suggest that employment is endogenous to the timing of the marriage decision and once endogeneity is taken into account, we find that public sector employment substantially increases the hazard of marriage in all three countries. We also found that, from a perspective of speeding up marriage, it may be worthwhile for young people to remain in the unemployment state longer if that leads to obtaining a higher quality job.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ara
Date: 2017-10-04, Revised 2017-10-04
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