Child Brides and Climate Variability

40 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2022

See all articles by German Daniel Caruso

German Daniel Caruso

World Bank

Melanie Gross

World Bank

Marcos Insua

World Bank

Valerie Ann Mueller

Arizona State University (ASU)

Alexis Villacis

Arizona State University (ASU)

Abstract

Rates of child marriage are relatively higher in Malawi compared to its East African counterparts, with 45% of women marrying under the age of 18 in 2018. Using 2008 and 2018 census and precipitation data, we employ a difference-in-difference, machine learning strategy to examine the extent droughts contribute to the disproportionate rate of child brides. Young women exposed to droughts were 5 percentage points more likely to be married by 18 than those living in non-drought areas. Increases in early age marriage coincide with a rise in fertility (3 percentage points) and decline in the completion of primary (2 percentage points) and secondary school (1 percentage point). We show that marriage market conditions play less of a role than the overall motive to insure the origin family during droughts. Social norms around women’s inheritance may provide daughters with greater bargaining power in decisions related to reproductive health but not marriage.

Keywords: Marriage, adolescent girls and young women, Drought, Insurance, Malawi

Suggested Citation

Caruso, German Daniel and Gross, Melanie and Insua, Marcos and Mueller, Valerie Ann and Villacis, Alexis, Child Brides and Climate Variability. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4190869 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4190869

German Daniel Caruso

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
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United States

Melanie Gross

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Marcos Insua

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Valerie Ann Mueller (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Lattie F. Coor Hall
PO Box 873902
Tempe, AZ Tempe 85297-3902
United States

Alexis Villacis

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

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