Forced Marriage and Birth Outcomes

39 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2016 Last revised: 25 May 2016

Charles Becker

Duke University - Department of Economics

Bakhrom Mirkasimov

Humboldt University of Berlin; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Susan Steiner

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Date Written: April 6, 2016

Abstract

We study the impact of bride kidnapping, a peculiar form of marriage practiced in Central Asia, on child birth weight. The search for a suitable mate in a kidnapped marriage is initiated by the groom, and there is typically non-coerced consent only by the male. We expect adverse consequences from such marriages, working through poor spousal matching quality and subsequent psychosocial stress. We analyze survey data from rural Kyrgyzstan. We apply several estimation models, including an IV estimation in which we instrument kidnapping among young women with the district-level prevalence of kidnapping among older women. Our findings indicate that children born to kidnapped mothers are of a substantially lower birth weight than children born to mothers who are not kidnapped. This has important implications for children’s long-term development; it also discredits the ritualized-kidnapping-as-elopement view.

Keywords: Forced Marriage, Bride Kidnapping, Birth weight, Stress, Kyrgyzstan

JEL Classification: I12, J12

Suggested Citation

Becker, Charles and Mirkasimov, Bakhrom and Steiner, Susan, Forced Marriage and Birth Outcomes (April 6, 2016). Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 204. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2730727

Charles Maxwell Becker (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Bakhrom Mirkasimov

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, Berlin 10099
Germany

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Susan Steiner

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Welfengarten 1
D-30167 Hannover, 30167
Germany

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