The male marital earnings premium in the context of bridewealth payments: Evidence from South Africa

Working Paper 057
Daniela Casale and Dorrit Posel
Publication date: 
September, 2007

This study explores the nature of the marital earnings premium for African men in South Africa using the September 2004 Labour Force Survey and the Labour Force Survey Panel (2001 - 2004). We show that a robust and positive premium to marriage in cross-sectional estimations is substantially reduced after controlling for individual fixed effects. Furthermore, we find evidence of an additional source of endogeneity created by the positive selection into marriage of men with faster earnings growth in the initial periods of the panel. Our results are to be expected if the payment of bridewealth or ilobolo, by a prospective husband to the bride's family, is a significant constraint to marriage for African men.

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