WPS/00.28 pdf
Marcel Fafchamps and Agnes R. Quisumbing
Assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia

Abstract: This paper examines the determinants of assets at marriage in rural Ethiopia. We find ample evidence of assortative matching at marriage. Assets brought to marriage are distributed in a highly unequal manner. Sorting operates at a variety of levels - wealth, schooling, and work experience - that cannot be summarised into a single additive index. For first unions, assets brought to marriage are positively associated with parents' wealth, indicating that a bequest motive affects assets at marriage. Unlike most brides, grooms appear to accumulate individual assets over time and over marriages. Parents act strategically in the sense that they bequeath more assets at marriage if this results in a better prospective spouse. The marriage market is a major conduit for rural and gender inequality.

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SFS 30 November 2000