Effect of early marriage on fertility and women empowerment outcomes: evidence from selected Eastern Africa Countries

Gideon Rutaremwa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
Allen Kabagenyi, Makerere University

This paper uses data from recent Demographic and Health Surveys data from five East African countries of Burundi (2010), Kenya (2008/09), Rwanda (2010), Tanzania (2010) and Uganda (2011) to explore the link between female empowerment and total fertility via early marriage, defined as marriage before age 18. Early marriage directly impacts on fertility by increasing the duration of exposure to conception and childbearing. At the same time, it exposes the young woman to physical consequences of early sex and pregnancy; a disrupted education; and reduced autonomy and bargaining power. This study seeks to analyze using appropriate regression procedures, first the effect of early marriage on a woman’s fertility and second, the empowerment effect of early marriage. Attention will be paid to discussing the endogeneity and heterogeneity impact of current age and marital duration. The findings of this study will be helpful in identifying effective fertility reduction and women empowerment channels.

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Presented in Poster Session 3