Document Type

Working Paper

Article

1099

Publication Date

2011

Department or Program

Economics Department

Abstract

This paper investigates the determinants of child marriage using a new data set from rural India. Specifically, we focus on an extreme form of child marriage--that is, the marriage of girls under the age of ten. No other study to our knowledge has examined the factors influencing the likelihood of such early marriage. Our model estimates the relative importance of economic factors and social norms in determining the prevalence of child marriage. Our findings reveal that the probability of a girl becoming married before her 10th birthday is highly correlated with the prevalence of child marriage within her own caste and village, even after controlling for household and village characteristics. Surprisingly, economic variables--such as household income and relative poverty status--do not significantly affect the likelihood of becoming a child bride.

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