Who marries whom in Pakistan? Role of education in marriage timing and spouse selection

Durre Nayab, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE)

Marriage markets in Pakistan have been undergoing changes in the recent decades, with age at first marriage, for both men and women, increasing steadily, especially for the more educated ones. Increasing women education, in absolute terms and in relation to men, is providing an opportunity for educational homogamy compared to in the past. At the same time, the tradition of hypergamous marriage arrangements for women is creating a “success penalty” for those who are more educated. Absolute level of educational homogamy is rising but no definitive word can be given on whether the function of education in spouse selection is strengthening or weakening in Pakistan. Marriage markets in the country are in a transitory state, showing increasing trends of educational homogamy on one hand, and on the other, we find a rising trend of familial endogamy and living in polygynous relationships for the more educated women.

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Presented in Session 113: Gender, educational achievement and the marriage market