Saturday, December 20, 2008

Marriage market: dowries

The previous post got me thinking about dowries and their role in marriage markets: the paper I like best is "Why Dowries?" American Economic Review 93, no. 4 (September 2003): 1385-98, by Maristella Botticini and Aloysius Siow.

They argue that dowries make the most sense in agrarian societies in which daughters move to their husband's family upon marriage, while sons stay and invest in the family business. Thus parents who wish to support both sons and daughters give dowries to daughters and bequests (inheritances) to sons (instead of bequests to both, which would give sons less incentive to invest in running the family business...). As societies become less agrarian, and sons become less likely to remain in the family business, it becomes more efficient to treat sons and daughters more similarly and e.g. invest more in human capital by sending them both to college, etc...

3 comments:

OneEyedMan said...

The assumption that parents want to invest equally in all their children regardless of gender doesn't make sense.

Was this only a study in monogamous societies?
Most human societies haven't been, and in those societies, parents have an incentive to invest more in their sons than their daughters.

Unpretentious Diva said...

I agree that the assumption that parents want to invest equally in all their children regardless of gender doesn't make sense.

What i do not agree with is the common belief that Dowry is senseless ad wrong.

No, being a girl, an Indian girl, I am saying that dowry DOES makes sense.

What doesn't make sense is traditional religious marriage system.
Marriage should be a voluntary mutually beneficial contract based on natural human laws/rights between two individuals.

The contract must be decided by the two individuals involved and be accepted freely.

The contract must be enforceable and breach of the contract must be punishable.

The contract may or may not have a dowry or the opposite of it (e.i something like sinsod)
But if it is, it should be on mutually beneficial contract based voluntary decision by both of the individuals involved in the contract e.i marriage.
if the two makes the contract without the issue of dowry or alimony, it is good for them, if they do agrees to have a clause on dowry and alimony, it is also there choice. The Inviduals should be free to decide how they will make the relation of marriage a legal respectable contract.

I may not be able to express my view about the matter here in a comment, but here is my report on the issue Dowry--The other facet

please visit and read it!

Thanks.


ReasonForLiberty

May be I am unable

The c

de wo said...


Who would prove those graveless love and lives? Snow kept falling over the village,quiet as ever.And the young hid themselves behind the rs gold birch wood.The bad news came at the other afternoon.Her love laid down his life on the battlefield.Quietly she came to the birch wood,waiting there each day on tiptoe.She said he'd just lost his way in the land far away.