Terms of Engagement: Marriage and Migration in India

Author : Scott Fulford, Andrew Beauchamp, Rossella Calvi | 2016
Published By: American Economic Association

Indian marriage markets are characterized by an enormous level of female migration, the presence of dowries, and by differing levels of participation in the decision by women. We formulate and estimate a dynamic, equilibrium, two-sided matching model which allows for estimation of separate preferences for men and women. We recover male and female preferences over partner characteristics, dowry, and migration costs in the presence of differing degrees of female independence and unobserved heterogeneity. In counter-factual simulations we focus on how likely changes in sex-ratios, female autonomy, and education affect equilibrium marriage matching and welfare. Our estimates suggest that men prefer less educated and less autonomous women, and so increases in female education and autonomy reduce the welfare of women in the marriage market, even if education and autonomy improve welfare outside of marriage. Declining sex-ratios improve welfare for some, but not all, women largely by increasing the value of marrying later.

URL : 20170426014749.pdf

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