Rania Salem

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This working paper reports on a study using Egyptian survey data to determine whether the effect of women's work on their status is mediated by the material transactions that accompany marriage. This perspective posits that marriage payments made to the bride, as well as assets she herself brings to the marriage, enhance her bargaining position. Analysis of the 2006 Egypt Labor Market Panel Survey panel data is used to explore the associations between women’s labor market activity, earnings, absolute and proportional marriage payments, and a measure of women’s status within marriage, namely their decisionmaking power. Consistent with the existing literature, this report finds that the labor-value and modernization perspectives are refuted by the ELMPS data. The bargaining perspective is only partially supported by the data, and the author considers some of the social and legal barriers to the operation of the bargaining model in the final section of the paper.