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Implications of marriage institutions for redistribution and growth

By Lena Edlund and Nils-petter Lagerlöf


This paper argues that love – as opposed to arranged – marriage promotes growth. Men pay for marriage, but who receives and pays the bride-price differs between the two marriage institutions. Typically, under love marriage the groom pays his bride, while under arranged marriage the groom (or his father) pays the bride’s father. Clearly, love marriage directs resources from the father of the bride to the bride. Moreover, we argue that love marriage may redistribute resources from father to son. If young (v. old) and women (v. men) are more prone to save or invest in the human capital of children, then love marriage promotes physical or human capital accumulation. If so, the adoption and adherence to love marriage in Europe, starting in the 8th century at the instigation of the Catholic Church, may have been a factor in Europe’s economic ascent

Year: 2004
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