Estimating the Causal Relationship between Extreme Climate Events and Early Female Marriage in Bangladesh

Francesca Tosi , Alma Mater Studiorum – University of Bologna
Livia Elisa Ortensi, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna
Rosella Rettaroli, Università di Bologna

Women are more vulnerable than men to the consequences of extreme climate events, like floods and cyclones, because they exacerbate poverty and contribute to increase the risk of sexual violence toward unmarried girls. In such situations, parents may decide to adopt suboptimal coping strategies by marrying their daughters at younger ages, in order to reduce the household’s consumption as well as their daughters’ risk of becoming unmarriageable as a result of sexual violence. Both NGOs’ activity and the qualitative literature have highlighted how extreme weather events are interconnected with the practice of early female marriage, especially in Bangladesh, a country where child marriage is being practices since a long time and where natural disasters often strike the local populations. What misses in the literature is a rigorous, quantitative assessment of the phenomenon. This paper aims to assess the relationship between natural disasters and the practice of early female marriage in Bangladesh. By means of appropriate time series techniques and drawing from both demographic (DHS) and climatological (EM-DAT) data, we aim to establish whether a causal relationship between the two phenomena truly exist.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy