Bride Price and the Well-Being of Women - Oxford Scholarship
Bride price , bridewealth ,  or bride token , is money , property , or other form of wealth paid by a groom or his family to the woman or the family of the woman he will be married to or is just about to marry. Bride price can be compared to dowry , which is paid to the groom, or used by the bride to help establish the new household, and dower , which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. Some cultures may practice both dowry and bride price simultaneously. Many cultures practiced bride pricing prior to existing records. The tradition of giving bride price is practised in many Asian countries , the Middle East , parts of Africa and in some Pacific Island societies , notably those in Melanesia. Bridewealth is commonly paid in a currency that is not generally used for other types of exchange.
Don't have an account? We examine the relationship between the bride price amount and a range of outcomes using a sample of couples from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Motivated by common concerns associated with high bride price, we examine whether payment of a higher bride price is associated with earlier marriage and higher fertility; a greater acceptance of domestic violence; decreased ability of the wife to leave her husband; lower-quality marriages; and lower levels of happiness for the wife. We find evidence that women for whom a high bride price was paid are less accepting of domestic violence and are happier. Among the African societies represented in the Ethnographic Atlas, 83 per cent report having bride price practices.
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