For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security

Hans Hoogeveen

Research output: Working paperProfessional

Abstract

The obligation to pay bride wealth at marriage is usually associated with thecontinuation of the lineage or considered a compensation for the loss of labor for the family that provides the bride. In this paper a different interpretation is advanced. The obligation to pay of bride wealth is seen as informal insurance which relies on the fact that bride wealth liabilities are contingent claims. Empirical evidence from Zimbabwe is presented to support this claim. In the absence of formal insurance mechanisms, bride wealth qualifies as an important security enhancing institution: the arrangement covers nearly the complete Zimbabwean adult population and permits to pool risks between many different families. Additionally the amounts involved are large and the period of time during which the claims provide security long. Like any informal insurance arrangement, the marriage system is prone to failure as a result of covariant risk and information and enforcement problems. It is shown how the marriage procedure deals with these problems.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherTinbergen Instituut
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Publication series

NameDiscussion paper TI
No.00-079/2

Fingerprint

Wealth
Marriage
Informal insurance
Obligation
Contingent claims
Enforcement
Labor
Empirical evidence
Liability
Zimbabwe
Insurance

Cite this

Hoogeveen, H. (2000). For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security. (Discussion paper TI; No. 00-079/2). Amsterdam: Tinbergen Instituut.
Hoogeveen, Hans. / For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security. Amsterdam : Tinbergen Instituut, 2000. (Discussion paper TI; 00-079/2).
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Hoogeveen, H 2000 'For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security' Discussion paper TI, no. 00-079/2, Tinbergen Instituut, Amsterdam.

For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security. / Hoogeveen, Hans.

Amsterdam : Tinbergen Instituut, 2000. (Discussion paper TI; No. 00-079/2).

Research output: Working paperProfessional

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Hoogeveen H. For Better and for Worse - How Unpaid Bride Wealth provides Security. Amsterdam: Tinbergen Instituut. 2000. (Discussion paper TI; 00-079/2).