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Corinne Low, University of Pennsylvania

Traditional Institutions in Modern Times: Dowries as Pensions When Sons Migrate
When Mar 06, 2023
from 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM
Where Online, plus in-person viewing option
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
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NOTE Change in time due to being an Econ leaning seminar. Time is from 11:15-12:15 p.m. as opposed to our more regularly scheduled starting time of 12:00pm in order to make it possible for econ faculty & students to attend. Although it is econ leaning, all of our seminars are geared towards a multidisciplinary audience with the shared interest of population studies and therefore more than appropriate for all disciplines.

About the Presentation

This paper examines whether an important cultural institution in India – dowry – can enable male migration by increasing liquidity at the time of marriage. We hypothesize that one cost of migration is the disruption of traditional elderly support structures, where sons co-reside with parents and care for them in their old age. Dowry can attenuate this cost by providing sons and parents with a liquid transfer that eases constraints on income sharing. To test this, we collect two novel datasets on property rights over dowry among migrants and among families of migrants. Net transfers of dowry to a man’s parents are common. Consistent with using dowry for income sharing, transfers occur more when sons migrate, especially when they work in higher-earning occupations. Nationally representative data confirms that migration rates are higher in areas with stronger historical dowry traditions. Finally, exploiting a large-scale highway construction program, we show that men from areas with stronger dowry traditions have a higher migration response to a reduction in migration costs. Despite its potential negative consequences, dowry may play a role in facilitating migration and therefore, economic development.

About the Speaker

Corinne Low is an Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Wharton School, specializing in discrimination, labor, and gender economics. Her research brings together applied microeconomic theory with lab and field experiments, and has been published in leading economics journals such as the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, and Journal of Political Economy. Corinne received her PhD in economics from Columbia University and her undergraduate degree in economics and public policy from Duke University, after which she worked as a consultant for McKinsey and Co. At Wharton, Corinne teaches Economics of Diversity and Discrimination.

Location in-Person:  1101 Morrill Hall Please use this link to RSVP.

Note: In-person vs zoom will be determined soon. IF it does turn out that the speaker must present by zoom only… we are still planning to host an in-person viewing session in 1101 Morrill.  The Department of Sociology is hosting their “admitted students” day on March 6th.  As a result, they will be joining us in 1101 Morrill.  It would be great if MPRC Faculty and current Students from Sociology could join us as well in 1101 to welcome the group of visiting admitted students.

Location ONLINE VIA ZOOM: Online via Zoom - Zoom Link to Register . Upon registration you will receive an automatically generated email with the direct link for the seminar.

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