Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 193: Dowry Inflation: A Comment

Lena Edlund
Additional contact information
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.

Keywords: Dowry inflation; marriage squeeze

JEL-codes: J12

19 pages, September 22, 1997

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