Thematic Issue on Women, marginalization, and vulnerability (closed)

Does education mitigate the adverse impact of bridewealth on women's reproductive autonomy?

F. Nii-Amoo Dodoo, Christine Horne, Adriana Biney


Recent research finds evidence that bridewealth payment in Africa creates reproductive obligations for women. The present paper explores the effectiveness of female education – an important policy weapon for addressing sexual and reproductive health disadvantages of women in the developing world -- in mitigating bridewealth’s adverse impact on women’s sexual autonomy. We conducted a vignette experiment in which we manipulated a woman’s bridewealth status (bridewealth had not been paid, had been partially paid, or had been completely paid) and her behavior (either in the reproductive or business domain). Our results suggest that female schooling may have more liberalizing effects in some domains than in others, and that efforts to increase women’s reproductive autonomy should consider the normative obligations created by bridewealth payment. The research and policy implications are discussed

F. Nii-Amoo DODOO, Professor, Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana and Sociology Department, Pennsylvania State University", USA. E-mail:

Christine HORNE, Professor, Department of Sociology, Washington State University. E-mail:

Adriana BINEY, PhD Candidate , Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana. E-mail:


Bridewealth; Education; Fertility; Africa

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ISSN: 2035-5556

Reg. Tribunale di Roma n. 3321/54