The Role of Housing Markets in the Timing of Marriage in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

The Role of Housing Markets in the Timing of Marriage in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia

Ragui Assaad, Caroline Krafft and Dominique J. Rolando

April, 2017


29 pages

R3. Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location
R2. Household Analysis
J1. Demographic Economics
O1. Economic Development

The transition to adulthood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is increasingly characterized by young people’s desire to form independent, nuclear households. Forming such households requires either buying or building a dwelling or obtaining a rental unit. Policies governing housing markets, such as rent control, and limited financing options have historically made access to housing for young couples particularly challenging. In this paper, we examine housing markets in Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia and their impact on the timing of marriage. A particular focus of the paper is how housing policy reforms, such as the liberalization of rental markets in Egypt, have affected the timing of marriage. We find that Egypt’s rental reforms accelerated marriages and led to a reversal in the trend of rising age at marriage. Jordan’s healthy rental market has also likely facilitated marriage, while the sharply rising age at marriage in Tunisia may be due to an inadequate supply of rental housing.


يتسم الانتقال إلى مرحلة البلوغ في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا  برغبة الشباب في تكوين أسر نائية مستقلة. ويتطلب تكوين مثل هذه الأسر شراء أو بناء مسكن أو الحصول على وحدة تأجير. وقد مكنت السياسات التي تحكم أسواق الإسكان، مثل مراقبة الإيجار، وخيارات التمويل المحدودة، من الحصول على السكن للأزواج الشباب بشكل خاص. في هذه الورقة، ندرس أسواق الإسكان في مصر والأردن وتونس وتأثيرها على توقيت الزواج. وتركز الورقة بشكل خاص على كيفية تأثير إصلاحات سياسة الإسكان، مثل تحرير أسواق الإيجار في مصر، على توقيت الزواج. ونجد أن إصلاحات الإيجارات في مصر قد عجلت بالزواج وأدت إلى عكس اتجاه ارتفاع سن الزواج. ومن المرجح أيضا أن يسهم سوق الإيجارات الصحي في الأردن في تسهيل الزواج، في حين أن ارتفاع سن الزواج بشكل حاد في تونس قد يعزى إلى عدم كفاية المعروض من المساكن المؤجرة

Research Fellows

Ragui Assaad

Professor of Planning and Public Affairs, University of Minnesota


Caroline Krafft

Assistant Professor of economics at St. Catherine University

Dominique J. Rolando



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