Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan

24 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Hanan G. Jacoby

Hanan G. Jacoby

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Ghazala Mansuri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: February 1, 2007

Abstract

In a setting where husbands wield considerable coercive power, forms of marriage should adapt to protect the interests of women and their families. The authors study the pervasive marriage custom of watta satta in rural Pakistan, a bride exchange between families coupled with a mutual threat of retaliation. They show that watta satta may be a mechanism to coordinate the actions of two sets of in-laws, each of whom wish to restrain their sons-in-law but who only have the ability to restrain their sons. The authors' empirical results support this view. The likelihood of marital inefficiency, as measured by estrangement, domestic abuse, and wife's mental health, is significantly lower in watta satta arrangements as compared with conventional marriages, but only after properly accounting for selection.

Keywords: Population & Development, Anthropology, Education and Society, Gender and Law, Gender and Law

Suggested Citation

Jacoby, Hanan G. and Mansuri, Ghazala, Watta Satta: Bride Exchange and Women's Welfare in Rural Pakistan (February 1, 2007). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4126, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=960383

Hanan G. Jacoby (Contact Author)

World Bank - Agriculture and Rural Development Department ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/hjacoby

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Ghazala Mansuri

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/gmansuri

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