In our model we consider transferable utilities but it should be noted that we

In our model we consider transferable utilities but

This preview shows page 24 - 26 out of 30 pages.

In our model we consider transferable utilities, but it should be noted that we do not assume that parents can use the share of the surplus obtained from the marriage of one of their children to secure the marriage of another child. We could capture this dimension by introducing some dynamics into the model and assuming that each family marries off one child at each period. We could also see this emerging if we assumed credit-constrained families and explicit marriage payments. This would be a nice extension of our model for future research, which would enable us to capture some interesting features of arranged marriages in societies where marriage payment prevails. It has been documented that in such societies, the marriage of a child (e.g. a daughter) entails a marital transfer (e.g. a brideprice) to the wife-giving family, who can use it to finance the marriage payment of another child (e.g. the brideprice for a brother) 25 . In our paper, we find that different family partitions lead to different family-stable matchings, which restricts parents’ range of decision-making. As a consequence, we support the idea that at the micro level, family composition has an impact on the way parents decide to marry off their children. For instance, Nassiet (2000) shows that in 25 The 2015 documentary Sonita presents an Afghan family trying to marry one of its daughters to obtain a brideprice so that her elder brother could purchase a bride. Nassiet (2000) points out that the in-coming dowry of the bride was used to compensate for the out-going dowries of the sisters of her husband in the French nobility of the Ancien Régime. 23
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the French nobility of the Ancien Régime, good marriages for first-born sons were more important than for younger children, due to male primogeniture. Moreover, in this historical context, women without brothers were very valuable partners as they would be the only heiresses of the family, while in other social contexts, such as rural South India (Kapadia 1995), women without brothers are less valuable mates. Vogl (2013) also provides evidence that in South Asia the quality of older daughters’ marriages decreases as the number of their sisters increases. In future research it would be interesting to study this issue more deeply, by introducing more assumptions into our model. In particular, we could introduce birth order and asymmetry between sons and daughters, in order to more thoroughly capture the effect of family composition on marriage decisions. In our model, family size and sex ratio are given, but we could also imagine an extension in which these two dimensions are endogenous. This would contribute to the growing literature on parents’ decisions in terms of family size and sex selection in a marriage perspective (Edlund 1999, Bhaskar 2011). Moreover, we could study the broader economic and social implications of family marriages. Marriages between families create a network of families whose structure determines the degree of segmentation of the society, which in turn has direct con- sequences in terms of redistribution, inequality and social mobility. As we show in our paper, the structure of families, described by the family partition, has direct im-
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  • Spring '10
  • J2, family dimension

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