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Age at Marriage, Social Norms and Female Education in Nepal

Jafarey, S., Mainali, R. M. & Montes-Rojas, G. (2020). Age at Marriage, Social Norms and Female Education in Nepal. Review of Development Economics, 24(3), pp. 878-909. doi: 10.1111/rode.12692


We study the impact of age at marriage on female education. We hypothesise that in cultures where females marry young, parents' discount the pecuniary benefitts of educating girls; the earlier the anticipated age at marriage the greater this discount. We empirically test this effect using household data from Nepal. We control for potential endogeneity of age at marriage by exploiting variations in cultural norms regarding dowry and differences in average age of female marriage among ethnicities and regions as instrumental variables. The econometric results support the hypothesis that female education is negatively affected by cultural norms that favour early marriage.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jafarey, S, Mainali, R, Montes‐Rojas, G. Age at marriage, social norms, and female education in Nepal. Rev Dev Econ. 2020; 24: 878– 909, which is published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: Education, Marriage, Gender, Nepal
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education > L Education (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Economics
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