Distress Migration

Marriage Migration in India: Vast, Varied, and Misunderstood

Author : Scott L. Fulford | 2015
Published By: Boston College

Two thirds of all Indian women have migrated for marriage, around 300 million women, but not much is known about this vast migration. This paper provides a detailed accounting of this large migration and evaluates some of its potential causes. Marriage migration varies substantially across India, and appears to have changed little over the previous 40 years. Contrary to conventional wisdom, marriage migration does not contribute to risk sharing or consumption smoothing. Nor is it driven by sex ratio imbalances. Instead, this paper introduces a simple model in which parents must search for a spouse for their daughter geographically. The model helps rationalize the correlations between migration, age of marriage, and literacy across districts in India. It suggests that marriage migration is part of the larger puzzle of low workforce participation, education, and bargaining power of women in India, rather than an independent phenomenon.

URL : http://www.bc.edu/content/dam/files/schools/cas_sites/economics/pdf/workingpapers/wp820.pdf

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