Farzana Afridi
Indian Statistical Institute and IZA Bonn
Abhishek Arora
Harvard University
Diva Dhar
University of Oxford
Kanika Mahajan
Ashoka University
Working Paper
JEL Codes:
J12, J16, J24
● Womens Work, Social Norms and the Marriage Market
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While it is well-acknowledged that the gendered division of labor within marriage adversely affects womens allocation of time to market work, there is less evidence on how extant social norms can influence womens work choices pre-marriage. We conduct an experiment on an online marriage market platform that allows us to measure preferences of individuals in partner selection in India. We find that employed women receive 14.5% less interest from male suitors relative to unemployed women. In addition, women employed in masculine occupations are 3.2% less likely to elicit interest from suitors relative to those in feminine occupations. Our results highlight the strongeffect of gender norms and patriarchy on marital preferences, especially for men hailing from higher castes and northern India, where communities have more traditional gender norms. These findings suggest that expectations regarding returns in the marriage market may influence womens labor market participation and the nature of market work.

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