at marriage (e.g., United Nations, 1990) and its determinants. Singh and Samara (1996), using data from 40 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) in developing countries, found that, although age at marriage is increasing, a substantial proportion of women in developing countries continue to marry as adolescents. Increases in age at marriage are associated with major social-structural changes such as increases in educational attainment, urbanization, and the emergence of new roles for single women. Jejeebhoy (1995), analyzing 51 studies based on a number of data sources, mostly the World Fertility Survey and the DHS, found that education is the single factor most strongly related to the postponement of marriage, but the relationship may be subject to threshold effects. In many countries, the tendency for education to raise marriage age becomes universal only after a few years of primary education. However, because the results of the few studies available are contradictory, little can be said about trends in the relationship between education and age at marriage over time (Jejeebhoy, 1995, p. 66).
Because research on marriage timing has been motivated largely by a demographic interest in the initiation of reproduction (Malhotra, 1997), and because few fertility surveys collect marriage data for men, most of the studies on age at marriage have been limited to women’s experiences (Singh and Samara, 1996). As Malhotra (1997) argues, the focus on women neglects the fact that entry into marriage is also an important life course transition for men, which reflects family structure, gender relations, and social change. Malhotra’s own work in Indonesia is one of a few recent studies that examines the determinants of marriage timing for both men and women. Although not examining determinants, Hertrich (2002) documents trends in marriage age for men and women in Africa. (Earlier studies include Dixon, , and Smith, .)
In addition, the literature on marriage rarely pays attention to the resources that men and women bring to marriage. This is a serious gap because empirical work on intrahousehold behavior suggests that the distribution of resources at marriage may affect bargaining power within marriage. Part of this gap is because of data limitations.
Anthropological studies are detailed and informative, but only for a small set of people in a particular setting, and they rarely follow the same group through time. However, anthropological techniques have been used innovatively to study changes in marriage patterns. For example, Caldwell, Reddy, and Caldwell (1983) combine data collected using quasi-anthropological approaches and small-scale surveys in a rural area of the south Indian state of Karnataka to examine the changing nature of marriage. Economic analyses have focused mainly on transfers at marriage such as dowries and brideprice (Rao, 1993b; Zhang and Chan, 1999), and not the totality of assets that spouses bring to marriage. Even if dowries or