The Perverse Effects of High Brideprices

Frédéric Gaspart, Jean-Philippe Platteau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Marriage payments are conventionally explained by economists as resulting from the operation of market forces. Characteristically, this type of explanation rests on the assumption that the individuals concerned do not behave strategically. When strategic behaviour is posited, parents are able to anticipate the perverse effects of high brideprices on their daughter's happiness and on the probability of break-up of her marriage. As a result, brideprices may be set at levels lower than those justified by the brides' relative scarcity in the marriage market. Using both quantitative and qualitative evidence, such a strategic approach is tested on the basis of original data collected in the Senegal river valley.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1236
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Development
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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