Thursday Link: There’s Nothing New on Earth

Whatever shtus we’ve got, someone out there has it worse, as demonstrated by this paper sent to me by Beth:


Marriage Institutions and Sibling Competition: Evidence from South Asia
Tom Vogl

NBER Working Paper No. 18319
Issued in August 2012
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS

Using data from South Asia, this paper examines how arranged marriage
cultivates rivalry among sisters. During marriage search, parents with
multiple daughters reduce the reservation quality for an older
daughter’s groom, rushing her marriage to allow sufficient time to
marry off her younger sisters. Relative to younger brothers, younger
sisters increase a girl’s marriage risk; relative to younger singleton
sisters, younger twin sisters have the same effect. These effects
intensify in marriage markets with lower sex ratios or greater
parental involvement in marriage arrangements. In contrast, older
sisters delay a girl’s marriage. Because girls leave school when they
marry and face limited earnings opportunities when they reach
adulthood, the number of sisters has well-being consequences over the
lifecycle. Younger sisters cause earlier school-leaving, lower
literacy, a match to a husband with less education and a less-skilled
occupation, and (marginally) lower adult economic status. Data from a
broader set of countries indicate that these cross-sister pressures on
marriage age are common throughout the developing world, although the
schooling costs vary by setting.


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