Bride price is the transfer of wealth or possessions by the groom or, more typically, his family, to the bride's family on marriage. Bride price is a payment of money or goods made to a bride or her parents by the bridegroom or his parents. Dowry is the wealth or possessions that a bride brings into the marriage. Dowry amount or value is directly proportional to the groom's social status.
Standard economic models of marriage contracts, starting with Becker (1981), explain the existence of the dowry and bride-price as pecuniary transfers necessary to clear marriage markets.
These models predict that when marriage payments are made, either a payment is made from the bride to the groom (dowry) or a payment is made from the groom to the bride (bride-price), but not both.
This contradicts one of the stylized facts of marriage contracts. When a dowry is paid, it is usually reciprocated with a bride-price.
I develop a model that explains why the dowry and bride-price are paid simultaneously. In the model, both payments are crucial, not just the net amount exchanged. - The model is consistent with the general frequencies, patterns and characteristics of the dowry and bride-price observed across cultures. - A Model Explaining Simultaneous Payments of a Dowry and Bride-Price - Nathan Nunn.
Economic analysis is used to examine the institution of bride-price. Supply and demand curves are developed in the context of the marriage market, and some hypotheses about the determinants of bride-price are derived. Using data collected by Granqvist in the Palestinian village of Artas, these hypotheses are tested by means of multiple regression analysis. The main explanatory variables are the productivity of the bride, the loss experienced by her own family, and the consumption of the wife in the marital home. The incorporation into the analysis of uncertainty leads to the conclusion that exchange marriages-often observed in societies in which bride-price is paid-are more likely than others to end in divorce. - The Role and Determinants of Bride-Price: The Case of a Palestinian Village - Ivy Papps - Current Anthropology, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Apr., 1983). - jstor.org
Implications of bride price on domestic violence
and reproductive health in Wakiso District, Uganda, Dan K. Kaye, Florence
Mirembe, Anna Mia Ekstrom, Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo, Annika Johansson
Objective: Bride price payment is a gender issue with implications on gender relations in different socio-cultural contexts. It also impacts Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. In a qualitative study on the perceptions of domestic violence in Wakiso district, payment of bride price emerged as one of the key factors associated with domestic violence. The study explored experiences, motivations, meanings, consequences and reproductive health implications of bride price payment in Wakiso district Uganda.
Findings: Participants perceived bride price as indicating that a woman was bought into the mans household, which reduced her household decision-making roles. It limited womens independence and perpetuated unequal gender power relations, especially regarding health-seeking behavior.
Conclusion: Bride price payment is a contextual factor that the community in Wakiso District, Uganda, perceived as associated with domestic violence, with serious sexual and reproductive health implications.
Critique on the Bride Price, Dr. Kao-Ly Yang
The Bride price replaced in its cultural context
In Hmong wedding, the groom has to pay a price for his bride. This pride is named the 'Bride Price'. The bride price is different from the dowry that Hmong people called with a specific category khoom phij cuam, made of money and material gifts that parents offer to the new couple. One cannot either compare the bride price with the dowry or say the dowry compensates the bride pride. In fact, the symbol of the bride price is an intrinsic and fundamental element in the meaning of Hmong wedding. As for the bride price, it is the core of the wedding. In term of sum of bride price, it is not a detail; in fact, it is the current preoccupation of all future grooms; theoretically, the sum added to the symbol of the bride price become a burden for marriage because it may reach phenomenal amount from $ 5,000 to $ 50,000 in the United States and from 3,000 euros to 15,000 euros in France in 2005. The bride price reveals to be a compensation of the bride's breeding until her marriage.
Why do Dowry and Bride Price Co-exist?