Document Type

Working Paper


This working paper analyzes parents’ decisions about girls’ schooling in the context of marriage through in-depth exploration of case studies in two rural areas of northern Bangladesh. The villages are sites of a long-term community study from 1991 and 2002, a time when significant changes were underway, partly as a result of new school incentive programs introduced in 1994. The data show that the rise of dowry demands, a relatively recent practice that is barely a generation old among Muslims in these areas, asserts an important and independent influence on marriage decisions and indirectly influences decisions about schooling. The influence of programs such as secondary school scholarships for girls is best viewed in the context of familial concerns about marriage and dowry.