Far above rubies: Bride price and extramarital sexual relations in Uganda

Article (PDF Available)inJournal of Population Economics 23(4):1177-1187 · September 2010with 277 Reads
DOI: 10.1007/s00148-008-0226-3
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Journal of Population Economics Volume 23, Issue 4 , pp 1177-1187 The custom of bride price involves the payment of goods or cash from the groom’s family to the bride’s family at the time of marriage. Data from a household survey in Uganda were used to estimate the relationship between payment of bride price and non-marital sexual relationships. A robust correlation between bride price payment and lower rates of non-marital sexual relationships is found for women but not for men. One interpretation we offer for these findings is that bride price reflects the price of women’s sexual fidelity to men. This interpretation makes sense in light of the refundable nature of bride price in Uganda.
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J Popul Econ (2010) 23:1177–1187
DOI 10.1007/s00148-008-0226-3
Far above rubies: Bride price and extramarital sexual
relations in Uganda
David Bishai ·Shoshana Grossbard
Received: 2 November 2006 / Accepted: 1 October 2008 /
Published online: 11 November 2008
© Springer-Verlag 2008
Abstract The custom of bride price involves the payment of goods or cash
from the groom’s family to the bride’s family at the time of marriage. Data
from a household survey in Uganda were used to estimate the relationship
between payment of bride price and non-marital sexual relationships. A robust
correlation between bride price payment and lower rates of non-marital sexual
relationships is found for women but not for men. One interpretation we offer
for these findings is that bride price reflects the price of women’s sexual fidelity
to men. This interpretation makes sense in light of the refundable nature of
bride price in Uganda.
Keywords Marriage ·Extramarital relations ·Bride price ·Uganda
JEL Classification D13 ·I12 ·J13 ·015
Responsible editor: Junsen Zhang
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” –Proverbs 31:10
D. Bishai (
Department of Population Family and Reproductive Health,
Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health,
615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21030, USA
e-mail: dbishai@jhu.edu
S. Grossbard
IZA Fellow and Department of Economics, San Diego State University,
San Diego, CA 92182, USA
1178 D. Bishai, S. Grossbard
1 Introduction
In this paper we use Ugandan data to test for linkage between payment of a
bride price and the extramarital behavior of husbands and wives. Like many
other Africans, many Ugandan men make monetary bride price payments to
a girl’s family prior to marriage. Ethnographical perspectives from Uganda
report that husbands are considered as owners of sexual rights over their wives,
that unauthorized sexual contact between a married woman and another man
is considered to be theft committed against her husband, and that bride price
transfers rights over a woman’s sexuality (Parikh 2007).
This study gives an economic interpretation to bride price payments to as-
sess whether they incentivize faithful female sexual behavior. Existing studies
of extramarital relationships in Africa highlight the effects of male wealth and
a wife’s pregnancy as factors affecting male promiscuity, (Kimuna and Djamba
2005;Onahetal.2002) but there has been little attention given to women’s
incentives or disincentives to be sexually faithful.
Our empirical analysis uses data from a household survey conducted in the
capital city Kampala and 12 rural districts of Uganda in 2001. We find that if a
bride price was paid, women are less likely to have extramarital relations, but
the same is not true for men. We discuss possible reasons for this asymmetry.
It could be that men pay for their wife’s fidelity when they pay a bride price to
her relatives. The refundable nature of the bride price gives women incentives
to comply. This interpretation is consistent with previous economic analyses of
2 Theoretical discussion
Commitment devices can make verbal agreements binding. In the Ugandan
context bride price refundability could reinforce verbal promises to be sexually
faithful. Even though it is ofcially illegal to request the refund of bride price in
Uganda, (Government of Uganda 2001) if a wife is not faithful, a husband can
claim his money back and return his wife to her male relatives. Conversely,
paying for their wives’ fidelity in the form of bride price may reduce men’s
need to exchange vows of sexual fidelity with their brides in order to obtain
their fidelity. As a result, we do not expect a significant positive relationship
between male payment of bride price and male fidelity in marriage.
The logic of our conceptual model is as follows: (1) men deposit bride prices
with their wives’ families, knowing that this money is available to them in
case their wives commit adultery; (2) this payment, which men can recover
conditional on their wives’ behavior, raises married men’s bargaining power
and well-being in marriage; and (3) an expression of men’s higher well-being
is more wives’ fidelity without corresponding increases in husbands’ fidelity.
The next section presents some tests of whether women for whom a refund-
able bride price was paid at marriage are more likely to be faithful to their
Far above rubies 1179
husbands, whether bride price payments affect the likelihood of male infidelity,
and of the determinants of bride price.
3 Empirical Study
Data Data for the study come from a household survey conducted in
Kampala and 12 rural districts of Uganda in 2001 (Bishai et al. 2004). The
survey included a module to assess respondent’s risk of HIV/AIDS via sexual
behavior, including numbers of extramarital sexual partners. In addition to
sexual behavior, one of the final sections of the survey asked all currently
married women whether money or valuable items were transferred to their
family by way of bride price. They were also asked the date of completion of
the payment and the total value of the payment.
A total of 1,758 individual interviews were conducted with respondents usu-
ally residing in the sampled households, aged 18–60, and not absent for more
than 6 months in the previous 12 months, of these 839 were interviews with cur-
rently married women, and 430 with the husbands of these women. Husbands
were only interviewed by male interviewers, wives by female interviewers. We
eliminated 247 women with missing bride price data from the analysis, which
left 552 married women with valid observations of both women’s self-reported
infidelity and self-reported bride price and 340 valid observations about these
women’s husbands. Since only 157 respondents provided nominal estimates of
the size of their bride prices and the year payment was completed we only use
a dichotomous variable: whether a bride price was paid or not. Although the
absence of data on bride price was not associated with women’s schooling, it
was associated with age. The women with missing bride price had husbands
who were on average 5 years older and they themselves were on average
3 years older than the sample who reported bride price status. The possibility
that unobservable individual factors were also associated with failure to report
bride price will limit the generalizability of the analysis.
Table 1 lists the characteristics of the women and men in the analytical
sample. Table 1 shows that 5% of wives and 19% of husbands report non-
spousal sex during the prior 12 months. The sample of the 340 wives whose
husbands were also interviewed report the same rates of non-spousal sex (not
shown in table). The overall prevalence of bride price was 68% in the 552
women studied. There were age/period effects: the prevalence of bride price
declined with age from 91% for women ages 50–60; to 72% for women ages
30–49, and 63% for women ages 18–29 reporting bride price (not shown in
table). Our data also indicate that there was wide variation in the timing of
bride price payments: in the case of six respondents bride price was reportedly
paid prior to a girl’s birth, and for an additional 13 women bride price was paid
prior to a girl’s 10th birthday. The median age of the wife at the time that bride
price was paid in full was 18. We settled on a simple dichotomous indicator
equal to 1 for households that owned more than three assets from the asset list.
Schooling was coded as a quadratic for the husband and the wife. Our results
1180 D. Bishai, S. Grossbard
Table 1 Means, percent, and standard deviations (in parentheses)
Whole sample Wives with no Wives with Wives with Wives without
infidelity infidelity bride price bride price
Number of observations 552 526 26 376 178
% infidelity reported by
wives in last 12 months 5 (0.20) 0 (0.00) 100 (0.00) 2 (0.10) 10 (0.67)
% infidelity reported by
husbands in last 12 months
19 (0.66) 19 (0.67) 38 (4.62) 21 (0.86) 16 (1.01)
% paid bride price 68 (0.93) 69 (0.93) 35 (0.45) 100 (0.0) 0 (0.0)
Wife’s characteristics
Age 31.1 (9.6) 31.27 (9.62) 27.81 (8.36) 32.13 (9.91) 28.96 (8.49)
Schooling in years
4.19 (3.52) 4.16 (3.54) 4.81 (3.00) 3.88 (3.41) 4.84 (3.65)
% perceives HIV
not possible 23 (0.75) 24 (0.80) 8 (1.44) 27 (1.02) 15 (0.96)
Husband’s characteristics
Age 38.15 (12.25) 38.38 (12.27) 33.4 (11.12) 39.38 (12.72) 35.56 (10.79)
Schooling in years
5.52 (3.13) 5.52 (3.11) 5.46 (3.67) 5.52 (3.02) 5.52 (3.35)
Number of months away
in last 12 months 0.52 (1.63) 0.5 (1.63) 0.73 (1.59) 0.40 (1.42) 0.75 (1.98)
% farmer 56 (1.05) 57 (1.07) 45 (4.65) 63 (1.20) 42 (1.83)
Household characteristics
% owns 3 or more items 32 (0.93) 32 (0.95) 27 (0.27) 31 (1.10) 34 (1.68)
% polygynous 7 (0.28) 7 (0.280) 8 (1.44) 8 (0.38) 5 (0.36)
% North 17 (0.60) 17 (0.62) 12 (2.07) 22 (0.88) 5 (0.36)
% East 28 (0.86) 28 (0.88) 42 (4.78) 30 (1.08) 25 (1.41)
% Kampala 18 (0.63) 18 (0.64) 23 (3.47) 11 (0.50) 34 (1.68)
% Central 20 (0.68) 19 (0.67) 23 (3.47) 22 (0.88) 16 (1.01)
% West 17 (0.60) 18 (0.64) 0 (0.0) 15 (0.66) 20 (1.20)
Based on only 340 observations
Schooling was constructed by coding all individuals with 1–4 years of schooling as 2.5, all with 5–7 as 6, all with 8–11 as 9.5, all with 12–13 as 12.5, and all with
over 13 as 13
Far above rubies 1181
are robust to different treatments of the asset variables and different ways of
coding schooling. A dummy variable controls for region in our regressions.
We also include an interaction term between bride price and the dummy for
residence in western Uganda. A statistical appendix with alternative ways of
coding schooling and assets is available from the authors.
Statistical specification In order to preserve maximum sample size while in-
cluding husband’s characteristics in models predicting wife’s behavior we chose
to do all of the following: (a) run models without any husband’s characteristics,
(b) run models including husband’s characteristics despite the reduced sample
size, and (c) run models in which husband’s characteristics were imputed
by regressing each variable on all other right-hand-side covariates. After
determining that the coefcient on bride price did not vary by more than
14% regardless of the strategy and that its statistical significance was improved
from a p-value of 0.07 to 0.01 in models where husband’s characteristics were
imputed, we opted for models including imputed values.
Our major goal was to estimate regressions of marital infidelity. We define
as the probability of participating in any extramarital relations in the
past 12 months, since we have data on participation but not on number of
infidelities. We model P
, the infidelity probability of the “g-th” wife married
to the h-th” husband, as a function of another dichotomous variable, B
whether or not bride price was paid at the time of marriage, characteristics
of the wife X
, and characteristics of the h-th” husband X
= c + γ
Likewise, we model P
, the probability that a particular husband h partici-
pated in an extramarital affair, as a linear function
= c + β
. (2)
Whether a bride price was paid, B
, is also modeled as a linear equation:
= c + δ
Because male and female behavior could be correlated, we explored a
bivariate probit model proposing a non-zero covariance, i.e. Cov(η
We obtained an insignificant ρ statistic, thus leading us to reject the hypothe-
sis that Cov(η
)>0. We then proceeded to estimate models applied to
one spouse at a time. Probit models would have been natural given the
dichotomous outcomes studied, and they were estimated, but they forced
the exclusion of the 141 women, primarily from the western regions, who
reported no extramarital relations. If a model contains a dummy variable for
a group which shares common values of the dependent variable, this group of
dummy coefcient cannot be estimated by probit or logit models. Ordinary
least squares (OLS) models that assume linear probability are not sensitive to
this problem (Caudill 1988). We therefore estimated OLS models of marital
infidelity that enabled us to preserve sample size, even though some predicted
probabilities from an OLS model would be outside the 0–1 interval. Both the
1182 D. Bishai, S. Grossbard
probit and OLS model give significant coefcients on the relationship between
bride price and wife’s extramarital affairs, but the advantage of the OLS results
is that they include the western region. This allowed us to estimate models
that include an interaction between ‘bride price’ and ‘west’ and attain higher
statistical significance, as presented in Table 2 and discussed in the next section.
We included demographic characteristics like age and husband’s farmer status
as well as factors that have previously been associated with marital fidelity like
wealth and education (Kressel 1977; Cameron 2002). Other plausible variables
that could affect a woman’s infidelity were included such as husband’s absence
and whether the wife perceives a high risk of AIDS.
In a fruitless search for plausible instruments for bride price we tested
whether within our Ugandan sample regional polygyny rates and prevalence
of ethnic groups were related to whether a bride price was paid. We tried
both two-stage least squares and bivariate probit specifications that included
markers of ethnic variation and district level polygyny as potential instru-
ments for bride price. These specifications failed tests for weak instruments,
in addition to their questionable exclusion restrictions. We thus abandoned
attempts to use instrumental variables for bride price and do not present these
Results One can appreciate the relationship between bride price and infidelity
from the descriptive statistics presented in Table 1.
A comparison of the last two columns in Table 1 indicates that 2% of women
with bride price reported infidelity, compared to 10% of women without bride
pride reporting infidelity. This ratio of 1 to 5 is statistically significant. The
same two columns in Table 1 also indicate that male infidelity rates are higher
(21%) in unions with bride price, compared to (16%) in unions without bride
price, but this difference is not statistically significant. Of the 88 men who
cheated on their wives, six report sex with a short-term partner, 53 report sex
with a long-term partner, and 29 report sex with both types. Only one of the
husbands reported frequenting what was defined as a commercial sex worker.
The tendency of Ugandan men to prefer to have extramarital sex in the context
of a relationship instead of as a brief commercial transaction was also reported
elsewhere (Parikh 2007). Of the women who cheated on their husbands, five
report sex with a short-term partner, 22 report sex with a long-term partner,
and two report sex with both types.
For reasons explained above, none of the models presented in this paper are
based on an instrumental variables approach so the regressions presented in
Table 2 must be interpreted as only indicative of causation. Models A1 and A2
are linear probability models of an individual woman’s probability of reporting
non-spousal sexual contact in the last 12 months. Model A1 does not include
an interaction with western—imposing a common slope on bride price for the
entire sample. Model A2 relaxes that assumption with an interaction term.
Models A1 and A2 show that having bride price is correlated with a woman’s
probability of infidelity that is 0.06 to 0.09 points lower, controlling for both
spouse’s age and schooling and a number of other characteristics. Model B
Far above rubies 1183
Table 2 OLS regressions of wife’s infidelity, husband’s infidelity, and bride price
Wife’s infidelity Husband’s infidelity Wife had bride price
A1 A2 B C D
Wife had bride price 0.066 (2.51)
0.087 (2.73)
0.078 (1.33)
Wife’s characteristics
Wife’s schooling 0.013 (1.76)
0.015 (1.98)
0.028 (1.52) 0.007 (0.41) 0.002 (0.10)
Square of wife’s schooling 0.001 (1.64) 0.002 (1.90)
0.002 (1.04) 0 (0.32) 0 (0.03)
Wife’s age 0 (0.16) 0 (0.01) 0.003 (0.82) 0.004 (1.41) 0.004 (1.40)
Wife perceives no risk of AIDS 0.02 (1.36) 0.022 (1.47) 0.069 (1.41) 0.103 (2.19)
0.101 (2.01)
Husband’s characteristics
Husband’s schooling 0.017 (1.43) 0.02 (1.58) 0.039 (1.80)
0.035 (1.60) 0.036 (1.60)
Square of husband’s schooling 0.001 (1.34) 0.002 (1.47) 0.003 (1.72)
0.002 (0.91) 0.002 (0.90)
Husband is a farmer 0.039 (1.24) 0.04 (1.30) 0.067 (1.43) 0.142 (2.53)
0.144 (2.54)
Husband’s age 0.001 (0.89) 0.001 (0.76) 0.003 (0.86) 0.002 (1.13) 0.002 (1.01)
Number of months husband was away in last 0.003 (0.59) 0.004 (0.75) 0.005 (0.26)
12 months
Household characteristics
Household owns 3 or more items 0.02 (1.11) 0.021 (1.13) 0.042 (0.73) 0.044 (1.02) 0.047 (1.06)
North 0.004 (0.17) 0.008 (0.34) 0.122 (1.84)
0.071 (1.18) 0.214 (2.60)
East 0.016 (0.54) 0.016 (0.53) 0.05 (0.82) 0.054 (1.01) 0.04 (0.72)
Kampala 0.025 (0.71) 0.03 (0.83) 0.162 (1.58) 0.33 (4.61)
0.257 (3.63)
Polygynous household 0.005 (0.13) 0.006 (0.15) 0.047 (0.34) 0.054 (0.66) 0.018 (0.21)
West 0.07 (3.63)
0.144 (3.97)
0.201 (2.78)
0.091 (1.29) 0.183 (1.86)
Interaction of West and had bride price 0.113 (3.23)
0.01 (0.11)
Constant 0.199 (3.03)
0.222 (3.33)
0.531 (3.99)
0.293 (2.43)
0.201 (1.52)
Number of observations 552 552 344 590 578
Adjusted R-squared 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.12 0.13
Controls for ethnicity No No No No Yes
Robust t-statistics in parentheses
Significant at 5%
Significant at 1%
Significant at 10%
1184 D. Bishai, S. Grossbard
shows that bride price had a positive but not statistically significant correlation
with the probability of male infidelity.
Our results show non-linear correlations between marital fidelity and
schooling. According to Models A1 and A2, each additional year of wife’s
schooling increases the probability of her infidelity if she has between 0 and
4 years of schooling. However, an additional year of schooling lowers the
probability of her infidelity if she has more than 4 years of schooling. Model B
shows that for husbands the net “effect” of a year of schooling is to decrease
the probability of infidelity for men who have between 0 and 5 years of
schooling, and to increase that probability for those with more than 5 years
of schooling. The lack of correlation between measures of household wealth
and male infidelity was unexpected and may be occurring because lists of
shared household assets may be a poor proxy for disposable male income. It
is also possible that unfaithful men can shift assets out of the shared house
towards the upkeep of a long-term mistress. It was also unexpected that male
infidelity would show no correlation with husbands’ time spent living outside
the household. Because most of the male infidelity does not occur in formally
organized commercial sex markets, it is not possible to use data on the supply
of formal sex workers to validate the men’s reports of infidelity. The survey did
not include any questions on the location or other attributes of the sex partner.
We conducted extensive tests to establish that the results were robust to
alternative specifications. The general pattern of results shown in the OLS
models is not altered by the use of probit models. These results are available
from the authors upon request.
If bride price simply marks out more traditional women who adhere to
sexual norms, then including a variable for schooling—a better proxy for
traditionalism—should lower the effects of bride price on infidelity. In models
of wife’s infidelity that excluded schooling (not in tables) the coefcient of
bride price was 0.089 (t-statistic 2.84), which is almost identical to the
0.087 obtained in model A2 that includes schooling. Bride price thus does not
seem to be correlated with infidelity simply because it signals traditionalism.
Our finding of a negative correlation between women’s marital infidelity
and bride price is robust to the inclusion of additional variables not shown in
Table 2. Prior work with the same data estimated models of infidelity including
ethnic composition, particularly heterogeneity (Bishai et al. 2006). Including
ethnic dummies in addition to bride price did not change the correlation
between infidelity and bride price. Community amenities, such as distance
to a market and an urbanicity scale, did not have important effects on the
level or significance of the bride price variable either. Rates of wife’s infidelity
were higher (13.8%) for households with only one child compared to 4.5% in
households with more than one child. This difference in infidelity by number
of children was only significant in bivariate analysis (p = 0.01), but not in
multivariate regression models. Including the number of children did not
change the correlation between bride price and infidelity. Our basic result is
also robust to different definitions of schooling. We obtained similar results
when estimating alternative regressions of infidelity omitting quadratic terms
Far above rubies 1185
in schooling, including spousal schooling differences, and coding schooling
categories as dummies. When data were stratified to urban vs. rural samples
the effects of bride price on wife’s infidelity were stronger and estimated with
more precision in urban samples.
We assessed a possible non-response bias. In the sample of women who did
not respond to the infidelity question, the proportion having bride price was
higher than average at 76%. Thus the non-responding women appear to be
somewhat more traditional. It is speculative to suggest how including these
women would have changed the results, but we nevertheless conducted an
experiment to see what happens if the non-responders were recoded as all
unfaithful or as all faithful. If all of the 38 women who did not respond to
the infidelity question are recoded as being unfaithful, the coefcient on bride
price in model A2 is reduced to 0.071 (t-statistic = 1.82). If these 38 women
with no response are recoded as being faithful (which is more likely, since a
majority of women in our sample were faithful) the coefcient becomes 0.083
(t-statistic 2.84). This exercise suggests that excluding the women who did
not report their fidelity (as we did in our estimations) leads to results similar to
those obtained if these respondents were all faithful.
Models C and D of Table 2 show the correlates of the likelihood that bride
price was paid. The difference between Model C and Model D of Table 2
is that Model D includes markers for ethnic group. Bride price is associated
with households involved in farming and is significantly less common in the
urban setting of Kampala. It is also associated with a higher probability that
the wife will state that she perceives no risk of AIDS. The inclusion of the
ethnic group markers accounts for a modest increase in R
of 0.02 points,
suggesting that it would make a weak instrument (Hahn and Hausman 2003).
That husband’s income or wealth is not associated with bride price could
possibly reflect compensating differentials: women and their guardians prefer
wealthy husbands. This preference could lead to a large supply of brides willing
to marry wealthy husbands and thus less of a need for wealthy men to pay
a bride price . Alternatively, the total compensation that wives receive from
husbands over a lifetime could include a number of components: bride price
payment at marriage, payments during marriage, and post-marriage payments.
The higher the expected payments after marriage (due to husbands’ higher
wealth), the less husbands pay at marriage (see Grossbard-Shechtman 1993).
4 Discussion and conclusions
In most of our regressions we find that payment of a bride price is significantly
correlated with reduced participation in extramarital relations by women, but
not by men. Two ways of interpreting this finding are that (1) bride price
includes a price that men pay to acquire their future wife’s fidelity and (2)
bride price is a marker for unmeasured characteristics associated with higher
female fidelity.
1186 D. Bishai, S. Grossbard
It is difcult to think of such unmeasured characteristics that would explain
why women would be more faithful but have no effect on male fidelity. For
instance, it could be that men who paid bride price are richer (husband’s
income not being fully captured by ‘education’ and ‘farmer status’) and that
women are less inclined to cheat on a richer husband. However, if higher
income makes men more attractive to women, one expects men who paid
bride price to have more infidelities. Alternatively, it is possible that women
who were paid bride price are more physically attractive. This would create
more opportunities for female infidelity, and we would observe a significantly
positive correlation between bride price and female fidelity. Furthermore,
husbands of more attractive wives would be less likely to have extramarital
relations and we would observe a significantly negative correlation between
bride price payment and male infidelity.
In light of bride price’s refundable nature in Uganda our findings can be
interpreted as follows: when men pay a refundable bride price at marriage, they
partially pay for their future wives’ fidelity. Paying for their wives’ fidelity in
the form of bride price may reduce men’s need to comply with vows of sexual
fidelity to their brides in order to obtain their fidelity, thus we don’t find a
positive relationship between paying bride price and men’s fidelity in marriage.
In Africa in general, and in Uganda in particular, there has been active
policy discussion about abolishing the refundability of bride price. It has
been argued that such refundability enables men to control their wives by
threatening to divorce and request a refund of the bride price (Okioma 2004;
Rogers 2004; Wendo 2004). Our analysis reinforces such arguments.
The elimination of a bride price system, or the weakening of such system via
the elimination of refundability, may encourage men to find other ways of ob-
taining their wife’s fidelity, including reciprocation. Reform-minded Ugandans
may adapt Solomon’s Proverb as follows:
Who can find a virtuous woman? A virtuous man, for rubies no longer buy
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  • Article
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    This paper sought to examine the role of bride price on the state of marriage among the Dagara of North-West Ghana. In the face of increasing scarcity of the items used in marriage in the study area, getting bride price has become a daunting task for many young men preparing to marry or already in marriage with consequences on the legitimacy and stability of families. Through purposive sampling, 5 FGDs and 9 personal interviews were conducted to obtain experiential information on bride price and state of marriage. The study revealed that the role of families, payback norms and incorporation (as part of bride price payment) are clear structures that have positive consequences for the stability of marriage; weakening potentially destabilising factors such as spousal abuse and the extra-marital sexual activities of men. Interestingly, the type and amount of items used for bride price have so much social and cultural significance that formal education and modernity has so far failed to completely change this practice among the people. The preceding allows us to conclude that the Dagara of Buo community are an epainogamous people, with societally supported marital norms and systems leading to marital stability. We recognise however that stability and longevity of marriage does not necessarily mean that spouses are ‘happy and content’ with their marriage. This is a relevant question that our current study did not explore. Thus, we recommend that a future quantitative study examine the relationship between marital stability and spousal ‘happiness and contentment.’
  • Article
    A case study of the payment of brideprice following a marriage in a Zapotec village in Oaxaca, south central Mexico, provides both a contribution to an area of academic inquiry lacking empirical research and an example of how migration, as a concomitant of modernization, may lead us away from static notions of marriage payments. The brideprice paid within the context of the facts surrounding the nuptials and circumstances of the lives of Paola and Javier and their respective families is inconsistent with prevailing anthropological and economic theory regarding the value placed on labor, fertility, and other quantifiable benefits. However, when one considers the bride’s age (a minor), citizenship (American), and current trends in emigration from Mexico to the United States, a new, fluid model for understanding marriage payments in the modern era assists us in understanding the dynamics at play in determining quantum and direction of marriage payments.
  • Article
    Married women’s material resources are widely regarded as determinants of gendered power relations between husbands and wives. Although a growing literature describes the material transactions that accompany marriage, few empirical studies investigate their association with women’s postmarital outcomes. Using nationally representative survey data from Egypt (n = 6,987), I test the assumption that matrimonial outlays are associated with women’s power (as measured by respondents’ reported influence in making household decisions). I find that absolute matrimonial outlays mostly bear a weak positive association with Egyptian wives’ decision-making power. My results further show that proportional spending on marriage bears a much stronger association with women’s decision-making power. A higher percentage of marriage costs covered by the bride’s side carries a net advantage for women, suggesting that parental investments in daughters’ marriages signal familial support for the bride, thus enhancing her power.
  • Article
    The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between female participation to the familial rural income improvement program (PARFAR) and domestic violence in the rural northern Cameroon. To achieve this, two hypothesis based respectively on the theory of marital bargaining and the theory of men’s backslash are tested applying propensity score matching to survey data from a sample of households in the area, to consider the possibility of sampling bias. A battery of test and estimation methods is used to check the robustness of findings. The results support the backslash theory. PARFAR participation leads to an improvement in the contribution of women in decision-making within the targeted households. This effect is associated with a reduction in violence acceptability but an increase in violence prevalence. This double result which embedded household dynamics in an adversarial logic then raises the question of prior cultural adjustment program for targeted households. Among actions to undertake for such attitudinal change about gender considerations in Cameroon, besides those mobilizing local government, non-governmental organizations and community based organizations, an additional challenge for policymakers could be improving policies facilitating access to legal institutions for victims of domestic violence.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Household economics analyzes all decisions made by households at both the microeconomic and macroeconomic level. One influential tradition based on the New Home Economics emphasizes the role of household production and takes a microeconomic perspective. It includes unitary models conceiving of the household as a unified decision-making unit and models recognizing that individual members of multiperson households keep their own preferences and constraints. Applications include all decisions possibly made by households, such as labor supply, consumption, savings, demand for health, time uses other than paid work, household financial arrangements, migration, marriage and divorce, other sexual behavior, fertility, demand for education, intergenerational transfers, and home-leaving by adult children. Household economists are interested in the effects of a wide range of government policies on household decision making. Many of these applications of household economics have been pursued independently, but recently there is a tendency for more integration and cross-fertilization between the various models that can be classified under the umbrella of ‘household economics.’
  • Chapter
    Full-text available
    Earlier home production models of consumption have considered households as one coordinated decision-making unit. Instead, this chapter assumes that individuals who are either married or considering marriage continue to be independent decision-makers after they form couples. In light of the concepts of Work-In-Household (WiHo, a particular type of household production benefiting a spouse) and its price (see Chap. 2), and assuming that traditional gender roles prevail, an analysis of markets where women are WiHo-workers and men WiHo-users leads to novel implications for the study of consumption. It follows from the model that there will be a gender gap in the price elasticity of commercial goods that could be home-produced. This helps explain, among other implications, why women may pay more for dry-cleaning than men. Sex ratio effects on consumption are also predicted: for example, it is predicted that in countries with more emigration of men than women, women will be expected to make higher contributions to newlyweds’ costs of housing. It is also shown how compensating differentials in marriage associated with various types of husband/wife matches could also be associated with different consumption patterns. For instance, relative to women married to men who are close to their own age, women married to considerably older men are predicted to have relatively more control over the use of the couple’s income and they may consume more goods that benefit them personally.
  • Book
    Full-text available
    Whether to marry? When and whom to Marry? What type of marriage? Such decisions motivate a wide range of economic activity, including employment, value of time, consumption and savings. Often implicit, prices established in marriage markets help explain how much we work, buy and save. Unique to my approach is the concept of Work-In-Household (WiHo), a particular type of household production benefiting a spouse (see Chap. 2). Factors influencing the price of WiHo--such as the ratio of men to women--help explain economic outcomes. Given gender differentiation and dominant heterosexuality, sex ratios help understand the economy, as argued in almost every chapter in this book. Another theme running through the book is that there may be compensating differentials in WiHo markets, and therefore the degree to which mates differ in their traits may help explain how much they work, buy, and save. http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/sgs/documents/marriage_motive/index.html
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This paper is the first to provide evidence about the relationship between bride price payments and fertility decisions in the African context. Remarkably, the results show that bride price payments reduce fertility pressure, with a woman reducing her number of children by 0.5 at the mean bride price. The results are robust to different tests that we conduct to address the potential endogeneity between bride price payments and fertility decisions. As possible transmission channels, we find that poor women and men with low levels of education are the most negatively affected by the tradition of bride price payments. Furthermore, a lower bride price payment increases fertility pressure in polygamous households and for arranged marriages, while the bride price payment has no effect on the couple’s decisions concerning fertility in monogamous house holds and for love marriages. Consequently, given that bride price payments have less power over (economically) independent women, empowerment will give leeway to girls in traditional societies, even if the bride price system is not overturned.
  • Article
    Throughout sub-Saharan Africa among most ethnic groups a man has to pay a price of cows or goats to take a bride. However women’s rights campaigners say this practice should be abolished because it facilitates the spread of HIV/AIDS and compromises the reproductive health of women by treating them as commodities. This discussion took centre stage on Feb 16-18 during the International Conference on Bride Price held in Kampala Uganda. Payment of bride price is an age-old custom. The number of cows or goats paid for a bride is negotiated between the two families. The mode of payment is gradually changing from livestock to cash. In some circumstances a man pays before taking a bride. In others the bride and groom and live together for a few months or years while arrangements are made for payment of bride price. (excerpt)
  • Article
    A revised consideration of bride-price and dowry is presented. Marriage payments are viewed as status symbols and mechanisms of fluidity relating to stratification systems. An inability to carry out exchange "in kind" (i.e., bride for bride) appears in cases of marriage between groups of different status and is shaped by cultural principles of stratification. The phenomena of hypergamy, hypogamy, and isogamy, along with different exchange currencies such as money, prestige, services, and patronage, stress the importance of the cultural component. All are solutions to the same structural problem. The solution characteristic of Arab Muslim society stems from the symbolic linking of the ruling hierarchy with the roles of the sexes; the male roles are the preserve of the elite, while the symbol of subjection to authority means effemination. Hypergamy implies that daughters, as representatives of lower strata, move upward. Elite groups are distinguished by the ability to do away with any payments, viz., to protect their daughters' modesty (by means of endogamy or leaving them unmarried) and to expose that of others' daughters by superior means. Exogamy, whose price is high, is required all the more under modern conditions. This is shown with data relating to sedentarized Bedouin and former peasants living in towns in Israel. Urbanization confuses primary groups and endogamic possibilities. New approaches for exploring marriage suggestions and for negotiating with strangers are required, and confusion of former hierarchies accelerates the process of restratification. Achievement replaces ascription, while former modes of conspicuous consumption are retained. Bride-price increases by 5.1 times in a decade, as measured by the increase in maximum (not average) price per annum compared with the increase in income. Cases establishing record sums for marriage expenses are examined in detail.
  • Book
    subtitle A THEORY OF MARRIAGE, LABOR, AND DIVORCE. PART I: The Economics of Marriage in Perspective; Part II: A General Theory of Marriage; Part III: Sex Ratio effects; Part IV compensating differentials in marriage; Part V: Cohabitation, Divorce, and Polygamy; Part VI: Marriage, Productivity, and Earnings. A big part of this book can be downloaded from http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/sgs/documents/on_the_economics_of_marriage/table_of_contents.htm. the document attached describes the content of the book. Author now goes by "Shoshana Grossbard"
  • Article
    To determine the prevalence of extra-marital sexual affairs as well as other aspects of male sexual behavior during pregnancy in Nigeria. A questionnaire survey of the husbands of consecutive women who delivered in three tertiary care centers in south-eastern Nigeria within an 8-week period. The data were analyzed by means of simple percentages and descriptive and inferential statistics, using t-tests, chi-square tests and regression equations at the 95% confidence level. 279 (88.3%) of the 316 eligible husbands responded to the questionnaire. A total of 78 (28.0%) of the respondents engaged in extra-marital sexual relationships during pregnancy. Of the respondents, 36.6% and 32.3% experienced a decrease in achievement of erection and orgasm, respectively. While libido decreased in 41.9%, coital frequency declined in 72.4% of the respondents. On univariate analysis, respondent's age > or = 40 years, duration of marriage > or = 5 years, having an extra-marital sexual partner and beliefs that coitus during pregnancy should be less frequent or can cause miscarriage were significant predictors of reduced coital frequency while a belief that coitus enhances fetal well-being was a significant predictor of increased coital frequency during pregnancy (P<0.05 for each variable). On multivariate logistic regression, three factors were statistically significant predictors of reduced coital frequency - age > or = 40 years (OR=2.3; 95% C.I., 1.9-2.3) and beliefs that coitus during pregnancy can cause miscarriage (OR=1.9; 95% C.I., 1.5-2.3) and should be less frequent (OR=1.9; 95% C.I., 1.8-2.5). Personal beliefs significantly affect sexual relationships between Nigerian husbands and their pregnant wives, making approximately one-third of husbands engage in extra-marital relationships as a way to satisfy their unmet sexual need during pregnancy. There is a need to educate husbands and their pregnant wives on sexual matters during pregnancy.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    To assess the factors affecting demand for an HIV/AIDS vaccine among adults in their prime earning and childbearing years and the impact of vaccination on risk behaviour in a high-prevalence, low-income country. A contingent valuation survey of 1677 adults aged 18-60 years was conducted in 12 districts in Uganda. Respondents were asked about a hypothetical vaccine to prevent HIV infection. Households were randomly assigned survey questionnaires with one of two levels of vaccine efficacy (50% or 95%) and one of five prices. The influence of demographic characteristics, vaccine efficacy, self-assessed risk of infection, price, and household assets on vaccine demand was assessed using multivariate regression analysis. Altogether, 94% (1576/1677) of respondents would be willing to be vaccinated with a free HIV/AIDS vaccine; 31% (78/251) would not be willing to be vaccinated at a price of 5000 Ugandan shillings (2.86 U.S. dollars). Household wealth, vaccine price, and risk behaviour were significant determinants of individual demand. Demand was equally high for both low-efficacy and high-efficacy vaccines. Respondents believed that condom use would be slightly less necessary with a high-efficacy vaccine (655/825; 79.4%) than a low-efficacy vaccine (690/843; 81.8%). However, reported condom use with partners other than spouses in the absence of a vaccine was much lower (137/271; 50.6%), with 26% (175/670) of men and 9.5% (96/1007) of women reporting having had partners other than their spouses during the past year. The high demand for an AIDS vaccine of any level of efficacy can be explained by the heavy toll of AIDS in Uganda: 72% (990/1371) of respondents had lost a family member to the disease. An AIDS vaccine would be self-targeting: those with a greater chance of becoming infected and spreading HIV would be more likely to seek a vaccine, improving the efficiency of vaccination programmes. However,,high levels of risk behaviour in the population suggest that a low-efficacy vaccine alone would have only a limited impact on the epidemic.
  • Article
    In Zambia, most people know about sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS, but this knowledge has not translated into safer sexual practices. An estimated 16% of adults are HIV-positive, with the majority having acquired the infection through heterosexual contact. It is important to know whether characteristics such as wealth are correlated with extramarital sex among men, because men who have sex outside of marriage are key agents of heterosexual transmission of STIs and HIV. Data for analysis came from 1,239 married men who participated in the 2001-2002 Zambia Demographic and Health Survey. Multivariate analyses were performed to identify factors associated with men's extramarital sexual behavior, with a focus on wealth. Overall, 19% of married men had had extramarital sex in the year prior to the survey; their mean number of partners was 1.3. Of the three proxies for wealth included in the multivariate analyses--education, occupation and household wealth index--none were associated with extramarital sex. Living in Southern and Western Provinces of Zambia was associated with significantly increased odds of extramarital sex (2.3 and 3.5, respectively); older age (0.4), older age at first sex (0.6-0.7) and living in Northern Province (0.4) were associated with significantly decreased odds of sex outside of marriage. Cultural norms specific to regions play an important part in sexual behavior. Socially defined sexual behavior patterns can shed light on extramarital sex and the spread of STIs, including HIV.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    We examine the association of community linguistic diversity with non-spousal sexual activity in Uganda. We conducted a survey on rates of sexual contact in last 12 months among 1709 respondents age 18-60 living in Uganda in early 2001. Households were selected at random from Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2000 household sampling frame listings in 12 districts and 120 clusters. Household listings described the principal language spoken by every household in the cluster. Sexual contact was reported by 26 vs. 13% of unmarried women in multilingual vs. monolingual clusters respectively. Extramarital sexual contact occurred for 29 vs. 16% for married men in multilingual vs. monolingual clusters respectively. These results were robust to multivariate models which included confounders such as urbanity, and cluster distance to market places, cinemas, and transportation. Our results suggest a robust association between residence in a multilinguistic community and higher rates of non-spousal sex.
  • Article
    Research has shown that married women's greatest risk for HIV infection is their husbands' extramarital sexual activities. Using 6 months of ethnographic research in southeastern Uganda, I examined how the social and economic contexts surrounding men's extramarital sexuality and the dynamics of marriage put men and women at risk for HIV infection. I found that Uganda's HIV prevention messages may be inadvertently contributing to increased difficulty in acknowledging HIV risk and to newer forms of sexual secrecy and that structural determinants, including persistent poverty, intersect with gender inequalities to shape marital risk. After examining a community effort to regulate men's sexuality, I suggest that HIV prevention strategies should focus more on endogenous forms of risk reduction while simultaneously addressing structural factors that facilitate opportunities for men's extramarital sex.
  • Article
    This paper derives a model of participation in what is commonly known as ‘adultery’. Arguably the best sex survey in the world is used to produce estimates of participation functions. The results show a great deal of support for bioeconomic models and reveal some interesting similarities and differences between the male and female equations. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002