Title

Estimating the health and socioeconomic effects of cousin marriage in South Asia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of Biosocial Science

ISSN

1469-7599

Volume

51

Issue

3

First Page

418

Last Page

435

PubMed ID

30289091

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

School

School of Medical and Health Sciences

Funders

Funding information available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021932018000275

Comments

Originally published as: Mobarak, A. M., Chaudhry, T., Brown, J., Zelenska, T., Khan, M. N., Chaudry, S., ... Li, S. (2019). Estimating the health and socioeconomic effects of cousin marriage in South Asia. Journal of Biosocial Science, 51(3), 418-435. Original publication available here

Abstract

The effects of marriage between biological relatives on the incidence of childhood genetic illness and mortality are of major policy significance, as rates of consanguinity exceed 50% in various countries. Empirical research on this question is complicated by the fact that consanguinity is often correlated with poverty and other unobserved characteristics of households, which may have independent effects on mortality. This study has developed an instrumental variables empirical strategy to re-examine this question, based on the concept that the availability of unmarried cousins of the opposite gender at the time of marriage creates quasi-random variation in the propensity to marry consanguineously. Using primary data collected in Bangladesh in 2006-07 and Pakistan in 2009-10, the study found that previous estimates of the impact of consanguinity on child health were biased and falsely precise. The study also empirically investigated the social and economic causes of consanguinity (including marital quality) and concludes that marrying a cousin can have positive economic effects for one's natal family, by allowing deferral of dowry payments until after marriage.

DOI

10.1017/S0021932018000275

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