Author/s:

Carrico, A.
Best, K.
Donato, K.
Giligan, J.

Year of Publication:

2020

Abstract

Climate change interacts with social, economic, and political forces in ways that can shape demographic behavior. Yet, the link between environmental stress and marriage has received limited attention. Using survey data from 615 Bangladeshi households, we examine the relationship between extreme weather in the form of heat waves and dry spells, and the risk of marriage over the period from 1989 to 2013. We find that girls and women are at an increased risk of marrying in the year of or following heat waves. The link is strongest for women aged 18 to 23, and weakest for those 11 to 14. We also explore the hypothesis that extreme weather leads families to accept less desirable marriage proposals for daughters. We find that those who wed during periods of extreme heat married into poorer households and to husbands with less education. Similarly, those who married during abnormally dry periods married men man with less education and who were more supportive of intimate partner violence. Together these results suggest that, when Bangladeshi families face environmental shocks, they cope by hastening the marriage of daughters or accepting less desirable marriage proposals. Such practices are likely to have long-term impacts on the health and well-being of women and children, and underscore the unique vulnerabilities faced by women as climate change intensifies.

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