Forced Marriage and Birth Outcomes

Forced Marriage and Birth Outcomes

Journal Articles

We study the impact of marriages resulting from bride kidnapping on infant birth weight. Bride kidnapping—a form of forced marriage—implies that women are abducted by men and have little choice other than to marry their kidnappers. Given this lack of choice over the spouse, we expect adverse consequences for women in such marriages. Remarkable survey data from the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan enable exploration of differential birth outcomes for women in kidnap-based and other types of marriage using both OLS and IV estimation. We find that children born to mothers in kidnap-based marriages have lower birth weight compared with children born to other mothers. The largest difference is between kidnap-based and arranged marriages: the magnitude of the birth weight loss is in the range of 2 % to 6 % of average birth weight. Our finding is one of the first statistically sound estimates of the impact of forced marriage and implies not only adverse consequences for the women involved but potentially also for their children.

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  • How marriages based on bride capture differ: Evidence from Kyrgyzstan

    A significant proportion of women in the Kyrgyz Republic marry via ala kachuu, generally translated as bride capture or kidnapping. Many regard this practice as harmless elopement or a tradition; others perceive it as a form of forced marriage. This paper contributes to the understanding of ala kachuu by exploring the extent to which couples in these marriages differ from those in arranged or love marriages. This paper provides a novel source of evidence on the possible nonconsensual nature of bride capture in Kyrgyzstan, adding further weight to those arguing that it is forced. … read more »

  • Transfer behavior in migrant sending communities

    Migration is likely to change established private transfer systems in poor countries. In rural Kyrgyzstan, households with migrants abroad help others with money. They receive labor assistance from others. This may be a sign of reciprocal, but asymmetric (money vs. labor) transfers. This is potentially good news for policymakers. … read more »