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Underage Brides and Grooms’ Education

Sylvain Dessy (), Setou Diarra () and Roland Pongou ()
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Sylvain Dessy: Department of Economics, Université Laval, Quebec, QC
Setou Diarra: Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

No 1704E, Working Papers from University of Ottawa, Department of Economics

Abstract: Public intervention addressing the issue of underage marriage emphasizes policies such as girls' education and enforcement of age-of-consent laws as promising avenues for ending this harmful practice. It has been argued, however, that such policies will work better in societies where there are supported by men. Yet, there is no study analyzing the role of males' characteristics in relation to early marriage. This paper examines the causal effect of a male's education on the likelihood that he marries an underage girl. Using micro-level data from Nigeria in combination with plausible instrumental variables that address potential endogeneity issues, we find that having more years of schooling significantly reduces the probability of marrying an underage girl. Importantly, we show that this negative relationship is not a mere mechanical effect reflecting the endogeneity between schooling and marriage-timing decisions. Moreover, we find that this relationship is weaker in communities where norms that cast women in submissive roles are stronger. We develop a model that explains this causal effect as resulting from the complementarity between father's and mother's education in the production of child quality.

Keywords: Underage Marriage; Male Education; Nigeria; Patriarchal Norms. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J12 J13 O12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dem
Date: 2017
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