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As part of the Vilfredo Pareto Research Seminar series, the International Economics Department at the Graduate Institute is pleased to invite you to a public talk given by Catherine Guirkinger, Professor of Economics at the University of Namur, Belgium.
She will present her paper Behind the Veil of Cultural Persistence: Marriage and Divorce in a Migrant Community, coauthored with Jean-Philippe Platteau and Zaki Wahhaj.
Abstract: An analysis of first-hand data reveals contradictory evolutions of marriage practices among Turkish migrants in Brussels: alongside persisting arranged and exclusively homogamous marriages (often involving “imported” partners), we observe large and increasing divorce rates that contrast with the situation in the country of origin. How can arranged marriage survive in a context where individuals may marry outside of their community and where divorce is easy and public safety nets are in place? To answer that question, we build a theory inspired by the seminal work of Bisin and Verdier (2000) and in which parents and children bargain over the choice of a spouse. We show that, perhaps paradoxically, the possibility of divorce may help preserve arranged marriage. This is especially true for women who are more constrained once married. To test the prediction of the model, we exploit a change in the divorce law (introduction of no-fault divorce in 2007). We find that, in line with the theoretical predictions, men's propensity to marry an imported bride decreases while the same evolution is not observed for women. If anything, the latter's propensity to marry an imported groom has increased.
Professor Guirkinger holds a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California Davis, USA. Her main field is development economics and her main areas of research are microfinance (credit and insurance) and the economics of extended families, particularly in Africa. She is currently an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.