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Shenk, Mary K. (2005). Kin Investment in Wage-Labor Economies: Effects on Child and Marriage Market Outcomes. Human Nature, 16(1), 81-113.


This paper addresses the effects of progressive incorporation into a wage-labor economy on the benefits of traditional kin networks for two social classes in urban South India. Predictions regarding the effects of kin network wealth, education, and size on child and spouse characteristics and methods of financing marriages are tested using various regression techniques. Despite the rapid growth of participation in a wage-labor economy, it is found that kin network characteristics still have an important impact on investment behavior among families in Bangalore in both social classes. Network wealth is found to have a positive effect on child and spouse characteristics, and large networks are found to act as significant drains on family resources. However, the results for education are broadly consistent with an interpretation of increasing family autonomy as parents' education has a far stronger influence on child and spouse characteristics across categories than network education does.


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Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Human Nature


Shenk, Mary K.