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Consequences of Child Marriage: Evidence from Indonesia

November 11, 2021

Kuala Lumpur Research Seminar Series

  • An understanding of the consequences of child marriage is important in motivating social change. Using fixed effects estimation (the inclusion of geographic fixed effects at diminishing levels of aggregation and sister fixed effects where possible) on panel data from the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS), we follow the lives of a sample of 40,800 women and men for up to two decades and examine the impact of child marriage on a wide range of variables. We examine the impacts of early marriage on girls, and also boys, and examine the differential effect of girls marrying older versus young males. Child marriage is found to have significant negative impacts on both men and women, including lesser educational attainment, lower earnings and less say in household decision-making. Women are less likely to have a medically-supervised birth and their children are more likely to die, be stunted and perform worse on cognitive tests. Negative impacts are mostly exacerbated when young girls marry similarly young men.

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  • Diana Contreras Suarez is a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic and Social research, University of Melbourne. As an applied development economist, she uses statistics to understand the determinants of people’s health, education and work and to evaluate the effect of welfare and social policies with special focus for people in disadvantage. Her work covers the fields of cash transfers, child development, family and maternal health, gender inequality and disability. Her research has been developed in conjunction with the governments of Australia, Indonesia, Colombia and Timor Leste, as well as agencies like The World Bank, World Vision Australia and J-PAL. Dr. Contreras Suarez is an active member of the Australian Society of Health Economics, the Centre for Development Economics and Sustainability and the Global Labor Organization.


  • WHEN (KUALA LUMPUR TIME): Thursday, November 11, 2021: 9:00 -10:00am
  • WHEN (ET/WASHINGTON, D.C. TIME): Wednesday, November 10, 2021: 8:00 – 9:00pm