Lena Edlund: Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: P.O. Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract: In a recent paper Rao (1993) proposed that scarcity of men (marriage squeeze) could drive rising dowries in India. This paper shows, using the same data, that his marriage squeeze variable fails to be significant in replication of the dowry function as well as in alternative specifications. Moreover, the evidence in favor of an inflation interpretation to dowry increases is weak. Instead, data suggest that the rise in dowries might have resulted from an increase in wealth, an interpretation which challenges the notion of rising dowries as a determinant of gender bias.
19 pages, September 22, 1997
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