Demand for Insurance and Within-Kin-Group Marriages: Evidence from a West-African Country 

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Why marry a son endogamously?

Our results indicate that the insurance benefit of endogamy is stronger when daughters marry endogamously. If not for insurance, why do parents marry their son endogamously? The ben-efit of an endogamous marriage for sons may lie in the difficulty for men to marry in Senegal.
Men’s marriage has become increasingly difficult (Antoine et al., 1995). Since the family of the groom (or the groom himself) is expected to pay a bride-price to the bride’s family and provide a comfortable housing for the couple, this difficulty may have risen following the 1993 devaluation and the rapid rise in urban population density. In this context, as within-kin-group marriages are easier to arrange, the demand for marriage (from sons themselves, or from their parents) may explain the demand for within-kin-group marriages for parents of sons.
In our data, the brideprice received by the bride is lower when she marries a male in her kin group (see Table 1.5).32 Men also marry at a younger age when they marry a member of the extended family. Looking at men who married for the first time between the two waves of interview, men marry on average at age 29.3 when they marry someone outside of the kin group and at 27 when they marry someone within the kin group. The difference is significant at the 5% level. Measuring the average age at first marriage for cohorts of men born between 1950 and 1970, we find that the average age at first marriage increases over time for men who marry someone outside the family and is stable otherwise (see Figure A-1.2 in the Appendix).


This paper has considered how the adverse effects of illness are managed by households ac-cording to whether a child recently married within the kin group (endogamously) or outside of the kin group (exogamously). We expect this to matter if a child’s endogamous marriage is a way for parents to strengthen preexisting links and to foster altruistic behaviors or reciprocity expectations among members of the kin group, increasing thus the kin group’s incentives to help the parents in case they are in need.
We exploit original panel data on consumption and monetary transfers collected in Senegal in 2006/2007 and 2011/2012 and find that daughters’ endogamous marriage helps their parents’ 31The demand for within-kin-group marriage may reflect difficulties in marrying one’s son for the first time and the difficulty of finding him a second wife. In Senegal, polygyny is widespread, and is associated with higher social status (Diop, 1985).
32 Yet, brides who marry endogamously are younger on average (first row in the Table). One could have expected a positive association between the age of the bride and the amount of the brideprice. Note that the brideprice dominates payments made at the occasion of marriages. We observe very few transfers from the bride’s to the groom’s family. The difference remains significant at 5% when we account for baseline difference in household’s consumption (column 4).
household to better smooth food consumption. This is notably thanks to a relative increase of the transfers their household receives. The better smoothing effect from a daughter’s endoga-mous marriage when shocks are individual may explain part of the demand for endogamous marriages observed in Senegal. The link between sons’ endogamous marriage and parents’ demand for insurance is less clear-cut. If not for insurance, parents may want to marry their son endogamously to ease their marriage. Thus, endogamy appears as a mutually-beneficial arrangement: parents of sons marry their sons more easily, and as a counterpart to this benefit the parents of daughters improve their ability to smooth adverse shocks. This may explain its persistence across time.
The insurance benefit of daughters’ endogamous marriage does not rule out drawbacks: there could be some costs for daughters who marry according to the desire of their parents, and potentially against their own. The question of potential costs associated with endogamous marriage is addressed by future work.


We are grateful to Richard Akresh, Luc Behaghel, Lorenzo Casaburi, Eric Edmonds, Fabrice Etilé, Catherine Guirkinger, Marc Gurgand, Kenneth Houngbedji, Sylvie Lambert, and Jann Lay for precious advice and insightful discussions on previous versions of this work, as well as participants at the Casual Friday Development Seminar, the D&S seminar in 2017 in Paris, the Journeés de Microéconomie Appliquées in 2017 in Le Mans, the Development Conference organized by DIAL in July 2017, the EUDN PhD Workshop in October for helpful comments, the CSAE, the CISEA and the AEL in Zurich.
Assessing the Effects of an Education Pol-icy on Women’s Well-being: Evidence from Benin
Abstract:1 In this paper, we examine the effect of education on women’s well-being through the analysis of the impact of a school construction program in Benin. We exploit a sharp increase in school constructions in the 1990s in this country, to assess the causal impact of a primary education program on primary school attendance, age at marriage and tolerance of intimate partner violence (IPV). Using a double difference method, along with a regression kink design, we find that the program increased the probability to attend primary school in rural areas. The policy also increased age at marriage and decreased the probability to find wife beating tolerable. We show that, in this context, the benefits of girls’ education have percolated down to women’s well-being beyond the initial goal of the policy.


This chapter is co-authored with Sarah Deschênes.


Over the past decades, the economic literature has been devoting attention to the relationship between women’s well-being and economic development (Duflo (2012)). Women’s well-being is multifaceted. Yet, in societies where marriage and motherhood are still considered the main milestones of a woman’s life, women’s well-being within their household is a key issue, es-pecially in low or medium-income countries with no safety nets but the family. Beyond its intrinsic value, one of the vector for improving this dimension of women’s welfare is educa-tion. First, it could impact when and how they enter the marriage market, and to whom they are married. Access to education is expected to postpone entry into marital life (Breierova and Duflo (2004)). This is crucial since the earlier women enter marriage the more their well-being is expected to be harmed. The literature has indeed well documented that entering early into marital life goes hand in hand with early motherhood, which is known to be detrimental to women’s health (Raj et al. (2009) and Nour (2006)). It is often associated with a lower bargain-ing power within the household (Jensen and Thornton (2003)). Education could also affect a woman say in the choice of the partner (Banerji (2008)) or the quality of the match, in case of assortative matching (Fafchamps and Quisumbing (2007)).

Table of contents :

1 Demand for Insurance and Within-Kin-Group Marriages: Evidence from a West-African Country 
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Context and Hypothesis
1.2.1 Data
1.2.2 Motives for within-kin-group marriages
1.3 Testing the insurance motive: the model
1.3.1 Model specification
1.3.2 Threats to causal interpretation
1.4 Testing the insurance motive: results
1.4.1 Main results
1.4.2 Robustness Analysis
1.5 Discussion
1.5.1 Channels of improved consumption smoothing
1.5.2 Why marry a son endogamously?
1.6 Conclusion
2 Assessing the Effects of an Education Policy on Women’s Well-being: Evidence from Benin 
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Context and Data
2.2.1 Education Policies in the 1990’s inWest Africa
2.2.2 Data
2.2.3 Same treatment, different recipients
2.3 Methodology
2.3.1 Difference in Difference
2.3.2 Regression Kink Design
2.3.3 Duration Model of Entry into Marriage or Motherhood
2.4 Results
2.4.1 Double Difference
2.4.2 Regression Kink Design
2.5 Robustness Checks
2.5.1 Are the results driven by the increase in men’s education?
2.5.2 Migration
2.5.3 Correcting for multiple hypothesis testing
2.6 Channels
2.6.1 Discussing tolerance of IPV as a proxy for women’s empowerment and well-being
2.7 Conclusion
3 Marriage Payments and Wife’s Welfare: All you need is love
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Marriage Payments in Senegal
3.2.1 Bride-Price, Cadeau and Bagage
3.2.2 Conceptual framework
3.3 Data and Descriptive Statistics
3.4 Correlates of Marriage Payments
3.4.1 Who draws which marriage payments?
3.4.2 The impact of transitory shocks
3.5 Wives’ wellbeing
3.5.1 Empirical strategy
3.5.2 Results
3.5.3 Main Specification
3.6 Robustness Analysis
3.6.1 Selection on the year of marriage
3.6.2 First marriages
3.6.3 Selection on the residence status
3.6.4 Selection on the relationship to the cell
3.6.5 Heterogeneity by consumption level
3.7 Conclusion


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