Joint with CCPR
Professor of Economics and Public Health, Duke University
Title: A Signal to End Child Marriage: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh
Child marriage remains common in many settings even where schooling and labor market opportunities have grown considerably. To explain this phenomenon, we introduce a marriage market signaling model in which bride type is not perfectly observed but preferred brides have lower benefits of delaying marriage. This gives preferred brides an incentive to reveal their type by marrying young, shifting the market towards early marriage even when everyone benefits from delay. In this setting, a small incentive that shifts preferred brides towards later marriage can delay marriage of all types through spillovers. We test this prediction by evaluating the impact of a financial incentive to delay marriage among 15,576 adolescent girls in Bangladesh. Consistent with the theory, girls eligible for the incentive for two years were 21% less likely to marry before 18, and girls who were ineligible for the incentive but lived near treatment communities also delayed marriage.
CCPR Event Page: https://ccpr.ucla.edu/event/erica-field-duke-university/