Premarital Births in Senegal: an Empirical Investigation of its Consequences (Article non disponible)

Mardi | 2013-04-16


In Senegal, 16% of young mothers have given births out-of-wedlock. In a country, where fecundity is mainly thought inside the marriage institution, this proportion is rather surprising. In this paper, we are interested in testing the existence of a stigmatization on both the mother and the out of wedlock child. To investigate this question, we examine the consequences of premarital births on women’s marital trajectory and on children’s health in Senegal. Using original data collected in the country in 2006, we do not find any significant association between premarital births and the marital outcomes, measured by age at first marriage and marital compensations, of young women. This finding suggests therefore that Senegalese women with a pre-marital birth are not marginalized in the marriage market. But what about their children? Are they more likely to suffer from a stigma? We do find evidence that children born out of wedlock are more likely to be fostered out, which could be the expression of strategies to lower the stigma. We then use DHS data to examine the impact on child mortality and find that boys do seem to have a higher mortality rate when they are born out of wedlock. No particular effect is found for girls. At last, we investigate impact heterogeneity along the time children spent out of wedlock. Findings suggest that if marriage follows the out of wedlock child delivery shortly, then stigma may be avoided.