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Shifting Marriage Timing for Women: Destructive Events and Forced Displacement

Date: 18.04.2023, 13:00
Place: Zoom meeting
Laura Muñoz Blanco, Trinity College Dublin

Laura Muñoz Blanco, Trinity College Dublin

This paper provides evidence that exposure to shocks that trigger population outflows leads to early marriage by young women, putting them on a poor-life development path. Exploiting a novel dataset and the plausibly exogenous occurrence of earthquakes within Indonesian provinces, I show that an earthquake raises the annual hazard of women marrying before the age of 18 by 44%, compared to non-exposed young women. The overall effect of earthquakes on women’s age at marriage masks substantial heterogeneity. The effects are larger for earthquake-induced migrant versus left-behind women. By obtaining informal insurance from marriage, induced migrants to marry earlier as a financial coping strategy: a marriage payment, an increase in labour return when the husband joins the household, and social integration in receiving communities. This is not the case for left-behind women. I find evidence that a supply shock drives this result. Large population outflows and school building destruction that lead to a drop in schooling explain the results for left-behind women.

Laura is a PhD Candidate at Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and will join Exeter Business School as an Assistant Professor in Economics this September. She is an applied microeconomist whose research intersects development economics, public economics and economic history. Laura is interested in understanding the consequences of forced internal migration on three main dimensions: intrahousehold dynamics, political outcomes and health-seeking behaviours. She won the European Economic Association Young Economist Award last year for her Job Market Paper entitled “Shifting Marriage Timing for Women: Destructive Events and Forced Displacement”. On top of that, Laura has seven years of professional experience working with the UN and the OECD. And she has been the main instructor for Introduction to Microeconomics and Public Economics for the last two years at Trinity College Dublin.

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