The economics of child marriage


Published 09.09.20
Photo credit:
Ricci Coughlan/DFID

Empowerment programmes improve adolescent girls’ educational and labour market outcomes; financial incentives are effective in reducing child marriage

Read "The Effect of Financial Incentives and Girls Empowerment Curriculum on Adolescent Marriage and Schooling in Rural Bangladesh: A Clustered Randomized Controlled Trial" by Nina Buchmann, Erica Field, Rachel Glennerster, Shahana Nazneen, Svetlana Pimkina, and Iman Sen here.

Child marriages in Bangladesh tend to be high and can involve severe financial consequences: the dowry paid by the girl's family tends to increase with her age. In this VoxDev Video, Rachel Glennerster discusses an experiment in Bangladesh in which adolescent girls were enrolled in an empowerment programme that helped them understand the consequences of early marriage, while in another approach families with unmarried adolescent girls were provided with yearly financial incentives. Fascinatingly, financial incentives were successful in reducing child marriage whereas the empowerment programme was able to encourage girls to study more and enjoy increased income in later life without having any effect on child marriage.