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Natural disasters causing economic destruction can increase child marriages — study

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Natural disasters causing economic destruction can increase child marriages — study

“This link between floods and child marriages was explained by families choosing to marry off their young sons in order to receive dowry to get them through times.” – KAIRVY GREWAL
Child bride (representational photo) | Source: Pixabay

A case study attempting to explore the link between child marriages and natural disasters in India has concluded that such disasters, which lead to economic destruction, could increase the prevalence of child marriage.

The study was published in the Social Science Research Network on 21 December. It was conducted by Madhulika Khanna and Nishtha Kochhar, who are both PhD candidates in the Department of Economics at Georgetown University.

In order to establish a ‘causal’ relationship between natural disasters and child marriage, the researchers studied the 2008 Kosi floods in Bihar. These floods had resulted in a “massive economic shock” in the region and were unprecedented, since the region had not seen such a calamity since the 1950s.

According to the researchers, the floods, which submerged many parts of Northern Bihar severely affecting over 1,000 villages, caused damages estimated at Rs 593.5 crore.

Bihar, along with Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, also accounts for 30 per cent of child marriages in the country…

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