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Explaining inter-ethnic marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay and Elliott Green
Source: Journal of International Development, Volume 33, Issue 4;
Topic(s): Education
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: MAY 2021
Abstract: We use Demographic and Health Survey data to undertake the largest ever examination into the causes of inter-ethnic marriage in contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa and document a number of novel findings. First, we show that inter-ethnic marriage rates are high, at 19.4% on average, vary significantly across countries and are rising over time. Second, we show that individual variables associated with modernization such as urbanization, literacy/education and declines in polygamy and agricultural employment are correlated with inter-ethnic marriage. Third, we show that inter-ethnic marriage is quadratically correlated with ethnic group size and negatively correlated with both educational homogamy and country-population size.