Why do we still see high rates of child marriage in settings such as Bangladesh, despite significant improvements in women’s economic empowerment?
Intuitively, we would assume that improving women’s economic empowerment would put downward pressure on the rates of child marriage. And yet in Bangladesh, this has not been the case. In this VoxDev talk, Erica Field discusses new research into why high rates of child marriage have persisted in Bangladesh in spite of improving women’s economic empowerment. The researchers find that dowry costs are crucial in explaining the prevalence of child marriage, with such costs increasing as girls get older. A financial incentive given to families can therefore help delay the age of marriage for girls.