Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marriage Dowry As Major Cause Of Poverty In Bangladesh

Date:
October 31, 2008
Source:
University of Bath
Summary:
More than 35 million people in Bangladesh, around a quarter of its population, face acute poverty and hunger. Dowry payments of more than 200 times the daily wage and costly medical expenses are major causes of this chronic poverty says research from the University of Bath.

The researchers used a combination of focus groups and individual life history interviews.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Bath

More than 35 million people in Bangladesh, around a quarter of its population, face acute poverty and hunger. Dowry payments of more than 200 times the daily wage and costly medical expenses are major causes of this chronic poverty says research from the University of Bath.

Dr Peter Davis, of the Centre for Development Studies based in the University’s Department of Economics & International Development, has been investigating the issues forcing families into poverty as part of a long-term study in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), and Data Analysis and Technical Assistance Ltd., Dhaka (DATA).

The research found that those households with lower levels of education, that owned less land, had fewer assets and had many young children and elderly relatives, faced the most difficulty in escaping poverty.

The custom of paying a dowry to the future husband’s family when a daughter is married is illegal in Bangladesh, but is still practised by most families living in rural areas. Payment is normally upwards from 20,000 Taka (around 190 or $313 U.S.) and since typical earnings are only 100 Taka (94 pence) per day, this can be a major contributor to poverty for many families with daughters.

Dr Davis found that medical expenses involved in the care of elderly relatives were also a common issue for families living in poverty.

“Some families face a ‘double whammy’, having to pay wedding expenses and dowry for their daughters at the same time in life when elderly relatives are needing more expensive medical care,” said Dr Davis, who spent several months in the country training and working with researchers from DATA Bangladesh to conduct interviews with families for the study.

“Measures such as improving education, employment and health services could play a really significant role in alleviating poverty in these families.

“The government in Bangladesh has already taken positive steps in increasing the enrollment of girls in schools, which should decrease the practice of giving and demanding dowry.”

The researchers surveyed 2,000 households based in 102 rural villages across Bangladesh, that were originally interviewed between eight and 14 years ago, to assess the changes in poverty and well-being that occurred over time.

They found that almost half moved out of poverty during this time, but around one fifth remained chronically poor and a small percentage fell into poverty.

Uniquely, the researchers combined household data with about 300 individual life histories to provide a deeper understanding of the causes of chronic poverty in the country, rather than purely using quantitative conventional research approaches.

Dr Davis explained: “This research is different because it is qualitative as well as quantitative, so it doesn’t just measure the trends, but also finds out the stories behind the trends.

“The life histories collected for this study show that many poor people’s lives improve and decline in a ‘saw-tooth’ pattern, where slow improvements are reversed by sharp declines caused by events such as illness, large medical expenses, wedding expenses and legal disputes.

“This contrasts with the smooth pattern of progress or decline which is often suggested by more conventional research approaches.”

Dr Davis presented the findings with collaborators Agnes Quisumbing from IFPRI and Bob Baulch from the Chronic Poverty Research Centre at a workshop in August in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The workshop was chaired by the director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies and was attended by more than 100 senior government officials, international donors and civil society representatives.

Dr Davis added: “We’ve had a lot of very positive feedback on the research we presented at the workshop and we are planning to hold further meetings with senior government officials and policy makers after the December elections.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bath. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Bath. "Marriage Dowry As Major Cause Of Poverty In Bangladesh." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030075654.htm>.
University of Bath. (2008, October 31). Marriage Dowry As Major Cause Of Poverty In Bangladesh. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030075654.htm
University of Bath. "Marriage Dowry As Major Cause Of Poverty In Bangladesh." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081030075654.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

AP (July 23, 2014) Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that took over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets that were then resold. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

Reuters - US Online Video (July 22, 2014) Ten years after releasing its initial report, members of the 9/11 Commission warn of the "waning sense of urgency" in combating terrorists attacks. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins