Why the Marriage Squeeze Cannot Cause Dowry Inflation

K.S. Anderson

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It has been argued that rising dowry payments are caused by population growth.According to that explanation, termed the `marriage squeeze', a population increase leads to an excess supply of brides since men marry younger women.As a result, dowry payments rise in order to clear the marriage market.The explanation is essentially static; unmarried brides do not re-enter the marriage market.This paper demonstrates that the marriage squeeze argument cannot explain dowry inflation in a proper dynamic framework.In fact, when women, who do not find matches at the `desirable' marrying age, re-enter the marriage market as older brides, (as is the case in areas undergoing dowry inflation), the marriage squeeze argument is shown to imply dowry deflation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • population dynamics
  • marriage
  • costs


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