Educational Hypogamy in India

Koyel Sarkar , Universite catholique de Louvain (UCL)

Women in India are increasingly marrying men, less educated than them. Findings from DHS 2015-16 show that educational hypogamy has increased from 10 percent in the 1960’s birth cohort to 30 percent in the 1990’s birth cohort. The prime objective of this paper is to explore the determinants of educational hypogamy among Indian women. I hypothesize, that women marry a less educated partner, when the marriage can compensate a rise in the social ladder (caste hierarchy) and/or the economic ladder (high ranked occupation of the husband). Preliminary findings confirm, that although educational hypergamy is always the preferred option, there has been a huge rise in educational hypogamy, especially among the higher educated women, across all birth cohorts. Although occupation hypergamy and caste homogamy are the most preferred kinds of Indian marriages, both occupational hypergamy and caste hypergamy are highest, when it is also associated with educational hypogamy. Therefore, in India, women are marrying low, by education, in order to rise in some way, here caste and economic upward mobility. After controlling for place of residence, wealth index and marriage cohorts, the odds for caste hypergamy increases but the odds for occupational hypergamy decreases. I find that educational hypogamy is significantly increasing over time by marriage cohorts, increasing order of wealth index and urban residence. Given the limitation of structural composition and reverse causality, this paper opens an unexplored dimension of Indian marriages and contributes to the literature the existence of marital bargains in couple formation in India.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course