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Home | Events Archive | Dowry, Old-Age Support and Labor Supply over the Lifecycle
Seminar

Dowry, Old-Age Support and Labor Supply over the Lifecycle


  • Series
  • Speaker(s)
    Alison Andrew (University of Oxford, United Kingdom)
  • Field
    Empirical Microeconomics
  • Location
    Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam, Sydney room
    Amsterdam
  • Date and time

    May 14, 2024
    15:30 - 16:30

Abstract
We examine how the institution of dowry and norms of old-age support in India affect labor supply, consumption, savings, the timing of children's marriages, and insurance against health shocks over the lifecycle. The ubiquity of large dowries, marital transfers from families of brides to those of grooms, and the expectation that sons provide financially for parents in old age mean that sons, compared to daughters, typically bring both a large one-off wealth transfer and a stream of income support to their parents. We document that both men and women work at higher rates, retire later, and consume less when they have no sons. We then use detailed panel data to document how choices change around the time when children get married. We find that marriages of sons correspond to a large increase in household assets, an increase in retirement rates of fathers, and an increase in labor supply of the son. Further, marriages of sons often follow a health shock experienced by the household head. Grounded in this descriptive work, we develop a dynamic lifecycle model to understand households' labor supply, consumption, savings, and marriage choices and how these are shaped by initial wealth and by shocks to wages and health. Joint with Anusha Guha and Selma Walther.