Bride wealth and household security in rural Zimbabwe

TitleBride wealth and household security in rural Zimbabwe
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsM. Dekker, and H. Hoogeveen
Secondary TitleJournal of African economies
Pagination114 - 145
Date Published2002///
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0963-8024
Keywordsbridewealth, household budget, marriage, Rural, social networks, Zimbabwe

This paper examines why Zimbabwean households pay bride wealth in instalments rather than a lump sum on the date of marriage. It also poses the question of why the type of cattle that has to be paid is not exactly specified. Starting from the observation that in rural Zimbabwe risk markets are absent it shows that flexibility in both timing and type of bride wealth payment enhances household security beyond what is feasible through income pooling between relatives related through marriage. The additional security results from the creation of a large pool of means-conditional, enforceable claims on assets that are vital for income generation and consumption smoothing purposes. The paper is based on various sources of qualitative and quantitative information collected between 1992 and 2001. App., bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Citation Key697