The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Impact of Early Marriage on Women’s Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Ragui Assaad, Caroline Krafft and Irène Selwaness


Date:
April, 2017

NO.
1086

Length:
46 pages

Topic:
N3. Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
J4. Particular Labor Markets
J2. Demand and Supply of Labor
J1. Demographic Economics

Marriage is a central stage in the transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This paper builds on the existing literature on the effect of marriage on women’s employment in MENA. Besides examining how different types of work are affected by early marriage (defined as marriage by the median age of marriage) in a multivariate setting, the contribution of this paper is to endogenize the marriage decision using an instrumental variable approach. We find that marriage by the median age reduces the probability of working for women by 47 percent in Jordan, 33 percent in Tunisia and 16 percent in Egypt. Much of the effect is due to a reduction in the probability of private wage work, which is reduced by 76 percent in Jordan, 57 percent in Tunisia and 40 percent in Egypt. Differences emerge across the three countries in the extent to which self-employment after marriage is available to women to compensate for the reduction in wage employment opportunities.

ملخص

الزواج هو مرحلة مركزية من مرحلة الانتقال إلى مرحلة البلوغ في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا. تستند هذه الورقة إلى الأدبيات الموجودة حول تأثير الزواج على توظيف المرأة في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا. بالإضافة إلى دراسة كيفية تأثر أنواع العمل المختلفة بالزواج المبكر (الذي يعرف بأنه الزواج بتوسط عمر الزواج) في إطار متعدد المتغيرات، فإن مساهمة هذه الورقة هي إضفاء الطابع الجنبي على قرار الزواج باستخدام نهج متغير فعال. ونجد أن الزواج حسب العمر الوسيط يقلل من احتمال العمل بالنسبة للنساء بنسبة 47 في المائة في الأردن، وبنسبة 33 في المائة في تونس، وبنسبة 16 في المائة في مصر. ويرجع جزء كبير من هذا التأثير إلى انخفاض احتمالات العمل بأجر خاص، الذي يقل بنسبة 76 في المائة في الأردن و 57 في المائة في تونس و 40 في المائة في مصر. وتظهر اختلافات بين البلدان الثلاثة في مدى إتاحة العمل للحساب الخاص بعد الزواج للمرأة للتعويض عن تخفيض فرص العمل بأجر

Research Fellows

Ragui Assaad

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


Authors

Caroline Krafft

Assistant Professor of economics at St. Catherine University


Research Associates

Irène Selwaness

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics and Political Science, Cairo University


Project

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