Marriage, Work and Migration: the Role of Infrastructure Development and Gender Norms
Amrit Amirapu (University of Kent)
Niaz Asadullah (Malaya University)
Zaki Wahhaj (University of Kent)

Abstract : This paper aims to shed light on the constraints to and the linkages between the marriage, work and migration decisions of women in developing countries. Using the construction of a major bridge in Bangladesh as a source of plausibly exogenous variation in migration costs – along with data from a purposefully designed nationally representative survey of women – we address the question of how a drop in the cost of migration to the industrial belt affected (i) female migration; (ii) marriage patterns; (iii) female labour force participation; (iv) male and female educational attainment. Our empirical findings are consistent with the hypothesis that social norms restricting female mobility prevented women from the economically deprived northwestern regions of Bangladesh from taking direct advantage of the reduction in migration costs. However, by paying a higher dowry and marrying male migrants from the local marriage market, a subset of women were able to migrate to the industrial belt and thus take up employment in the manufacturing sector.

Can Policy Crowd out Culture?
Natalie Bau (University of Toronto)

Abstract : Policies change the economic environment, changing the incentives that allow cultural practices to persist. Since these practices can play multiple roles in society, policies can have unintended consequences. In this paper, I study kinship traditions that determine whether boys or girls support their parents in their old age in Indonesia and Ghana. I hypothesize that these traditions play the dual role of increasing old age support while incentivizing parents to invest in their children’s education. Both across and within-countries, parents invest more in the human capital of the child who, according to these practices, is more likely to care for them in old age. In both countries, the entry and expansion of pension plans reduces education for these children, and crowds out the practice of the traditions themselves. Thus, policy leads to cultural change.

How Women’s Rights Affect Fertility: Evidence from Nigeria
Raphael Godefroy (Universite de Montreal)

Abstract : This paper estimates the impact on fertility of a 1999 reform that reduced litigants' rights for Muslim women in certain states of Nigeria. Using data from Demographic and Health Surveys, I find that, where enforced, the Reform increased the yearly probability of giving birth by 0.026. This effect stems from both a shift of fertility decisions within marriage towards husbands' preferences and an increase in the probability of being married. The change in marital status alone may explain 60% of the total increase in fertility. I also find that the enforced Reform increased women's labour supply.