Age at Marriage, Migration and Marriage Market Equilibrium in Rural Bangladesh

Andrew Foster, Brown University
Ali E. Protik, Brown University

Standard demographic models predict that a higher excess supply of women in the marriage market is associated with a smaller age gap. This paper argues that this prediction can be misleading because it does not account for key dynamic aspects of the process of marriage market equilibration through changes in the age at marriage. A simple demographic model is used to show that the relevant relationship is not between relative cohort size and the amount of the age gap, but between relative cohort size and the rate of change in the age gap. Data from a rural area of Bangladesh that experienced substantial increase in the age at marriage for women over the past 27 years is used to test the model empirically. Current works on this project focus on the process of migration and how it influences or is influenced by the age at marriage.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Fertility, Family Planning, Unions, and Sexual Behavior