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Characteristics of women in consanguineous marriages in Egypt, 1988 -- 2000
Authors: Weinreb AA
Source: European Journal of Population, 2008 Jun;24(2):185-210
Topic(s): Family structure
Women's autonomy
Country: Africa
Published: JUN 2008
Abstract: This article reviews three mechanisms related to autonomy, wealth, and local cultural factors, which are said to underly the high prevalence of consanguineous marriage in Arab societies. It then assesses each of them empirically in two stages. The first uses a pooled dataset constituted by the most recent marriage cohorts in the 1992 and 2000 waves of the Egyptian Demographic and Health Surveys. Three results stand out. The frequency of consanguinity in the most recent marriage cohorts (i) is strongly correlated with the frequency among older cohorts, signaling the strong clustering of underlying institutional (and unobserved) supports; (ii) tends to be more common among women who are poorer in absolute term, though wealthier than average in their communities; and (iii) varies temporally and across the rural-urban divide in its relationship to women's autonomy. A subsidiary analysis, using only the 2000 data, then identifies wealth and autonomy differences between first cousin patrilateral and matrilateral wives.