The Impact of Livelihood Strategies of Adolescent Girls and Poverty on Marriage Timing in Nepal: A Study Using the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS)

Ashish Bajracharya, Population Council

In the developing world, child marriage, particularly among girls, remains prevalent at very high levels. Among factors that influence marriage timing for girls, relatively less attention has been paid to livelihood strategies such as economic participation compared to factors like schooling. This study aims to examine this important yet understudied topic by using longitudinal data from Nepal, where child marriage still exists at alarming levels. Using a two-wave panel of 962 households from the Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS), this study examines the influence of such strategies and household poverty on the hazard of marriage before age 18 and on other important non-marriage adolescent outcomes. While some evidence suggests that economic participation empowers girls and engenders greater autonomy in decision-making including about marriage, preliminary results from the NLSS show that economically active girls marry early, particularly in poor households. The interrelationship among these variables is examined further.

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Presented in Session 23: The Transition to Adulthood in Developing Countries