A Signal to End Child Marriage: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh

Thursday, June 8, 2023
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
  • Erica Field, Professor of Economics, Duke University
A Signal to End Child Marriage: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh withErica Field

Co-sponsored by Peking University Institute for Global Health and Development, and the Asia Health Policy Program

Child marriage remains common even where female schooling and employment opportunities have grown. We experimentally evaluate a financial incentive to delay marriage alongside a girls’ empowerment program in Bangladesh. While girls eligible for two years of incentive are 19% less likely to marry underage, the empowerment program failed to decrease adolescent marriage. We show that these results are consistent with a signaling model in which bride type is imperfectly observed but preferred bride types (socially conservative girls) have lower returns to delaying marriage. Consistent with our theoretical prediction, we observe substantial spillovers of the incentive on untreated non-preferred types.

Erica Field

Erica Field is a Professor of Economics and Global Health at Duke University specializing in the fields of Development Economics, Health Economics and Economic Demography. Professor Field’s work examines the microeconomics of household poverty and health in developing countries, with an emphasis on the study of gender and development. She has written papers on several topics in development in many different parts of the world, including microfinance contract design and social networks in India, marriage markets in Bangladesh, micronutrient deficiencies in Tanzania, health insurance for the poor in Nicaragua, household bargaining over fertility in Zambia.  Her work has been published in several leading peer-reviewed journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy and the American Economic Journal. Professor Field received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2003. Prior to joining the Economics Department at Duke, she was a John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University. 

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