Child Marriage in Behavioural Economics: Nudge, Push, Shove or Sledge-Hammer?
Panel Session at 2019 BDI Conference at Yale University
In many parts of the world, including Bangladesh, adolescent girls face strong social pressures to marry from the onset of puberty. Recent research has established that the practice of early marriage has adverse consequences not only for the women who experience it but also for the next generation of children. But there remains wide-ranging debate among policymakers and researchers about the most cost-effective strategies – as well as innovation in the design of programmes and policies – for tackling the issue. While there exists a broad consensus among stakeholders about the proximate causes of early marriage – including poverty, vulnerability to adverse shocks, and lawless – there is less understanding of the deep drivers: why the practice has persisted in some societies while others with similarly patriarchal traditions have managed to eradicate it in recent decades. This panel session at the 2019 Bangladesh Development Initiative Conference will consider the pros and cons of different strategies for reducing the incidence of child marriage considered by national governments, international aid agencies, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders.