Underage Brides and Grooms' Education

46 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2017

See all articles by Sylvain Dessy

Sylvain Dessy

Université Laval - Département d'Économique

Setou Diarra

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 22, 2017

Abstract

Public intervention addressing the issue of underage marriage emphasizes policies such as girls' education and enforcement of age-of-consent laws as promising avenues for ending this harmful practice. It has been argued, however, that such policies will work better in societies where they are supported by men. Yet, there is no study analyzing the role of males' characteristics in relation to early marriage. This paper examines the causal effect of a male's education on the likelihood that he marries an underage girl. Using micro-level data from Nigeria in combination with plausible instrumental variables that address potential endogeneity issues, we find that having more years of schooling significantly reduces the probability of marrying an underage girl. Importantly, we show that this negative relationship is not a mere mechanical effect reflecting the endogeneity between schooling and marriage-timing decisions. Moreover, we find that this relationship is weaker in communities where norms that cast women in submissive roles are stronger. We develop a model that explains this causal effect as resulting from the complementarity between father's and mother's education in the production of child quality.

Keywords: Underage Marriage, Male Education, Nigeria, Patriarchal Norms.

JEL Classification: J12, J13, O12.

Suggested Citation

Dessy, Sylvain and Diarra, Setou and Pongou, Roland, Underage Brides and Grooms' Education (April 22, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2956941 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2956941

Sylvain Dessy

Université Laval - Département d'Économique ( email )

2325 Rue de l'Université
Ste-Foy, Quebec G1K 7P4 G1K 7P4
Canada

Setou Diarra (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

Social Sciences Building Room 9005
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

Roland Pongou

University of Ottawa - Department of Economics ( email )

200 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5
Canada

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