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Child Marriage Law, Gender Norms and Marriage Customs

Amirapu, Amrit and Asadullah, M. Niaz and Wahhaj, Zaki (2019) Child Marriage Law, Gender Norms and Marriage Customs. Working paper. Economic Development and Institutions Working Paper Series, United Kingdom WP19/04. (doi:WP19/04) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
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https://edi.opml.co.uk/resource/child-marriage-law...

Abstract

The negative welfare consequences of child marriage are well established, but the phenomenon is still ubiquitous in developing countries, where one in three girls is married before the age of 18. Although most countries have a legal minimum age of marriage set at 18 years, in practice marriage age in developing countries is determined by social norms. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that formal laws can influence social norms – even when the laws are not enforced. We do this by administering a randomized video-based information treatment that accelerates knowledge transmission about a new child marriage law in Bangladesh which contains separate progressive and regressive components. We find evidence that our information treatments led to a change in participants’ own attitudes and behaviour (including reported attitudes regarding appropriate marriage age and willingness to contribute to a charity that campaigns against child marriage), but did not substantially influence their beliefs about attitudes or practices prevalent in their community. We use these findings to distinguish between alternative hypotheses for how the formal law may influence behaviour, arguing that they are consistent with “focal point” theory and “whistle-blowing”, but are inconsistent with the law having an “expressive effect”.

Item Type: Monograph (Working paper)
DOI/Identification number: WP19/04
Projects: Projects 22654 not found.
Uncontrolled keywords: age of marriage, social norms, formal institutions, legal change
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ21 Sexual behavior and attitudes
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women > HQ767.9 Children. Child developement
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Economics
Depositing User: Zaki Wahhaj
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 10:44 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2019 16:57 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/77946 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Amirapu, Amrit: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9922-9363
Asadullah, M. Niaz: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8047-5548
Wahhaj, Zaki: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8285-7670
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