Background information

Some articles include "background information" boxes that provide further details on concepts, economic, scholarly, or technical terms, or on the historical background to an argument. All background information terms and concepts are brought together here in an alphabetized list—with direct links back to the corresponding article.


  • Absolute and relative poverty

    Poverty lines are cut-off points separating the poor from the non-poor. They can be monetary (for example, a certain level of consumption) or non-monetary (for example, a certain level of literacy). The use of multiple lines can help in distinguishing different levels of poverty. There are two main ways of setting poverty lines—relative or absolute.

    Relative poverty lines. These are defined in relation to the overall distribution of income or consumption in a country; for example, the poverty line could be set at 50% of the country’s mean income or consumption.

    Absolute poverty lines. These are anchored in some absolute standard of what households should be able to count on in order to meet their basic needs. For monetary measures, these absolute poverty lines are often based on estimates of the cost of basic food needs (i.e., the cost a nutritional basket considered minimal for the healthy survival of a typical family), to which a provision is added for non-food needs. For developing countries, considering the fact that large shares of the population survive with the bare minimum or less, it is often more relevant to rely on an absolute rather than a relative poverty line. Different methods have been used in the literature to define absolute poverty lines.

    Reference poverty line. What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines that are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms, and values. When estimating poverty worldwide, the same reference poverty line has to be used and expressed in a common unit across countries. A common reference line is US$1.25 a day for the extreme poverty line and US$2 a day for the poverty line.

    Source: Drawn from World Bank, Choosing and Estimating a Poverty Line. Online at:

  • Agency problem

    When one party (the agent, in this case the civil servant) is expected to act in the best interests of another party (the principal, in this case, the public), a conflict of interest may arise. The problem arises because the agent may be motivated by self-interest, and his or her best interests may differ from the principal’s best interests.

  • Air pollution and the Beijing Olympics

    High levels of air pollution in Beijing raised concerns among athletes and others before the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. The government took extraordinary measures to reduce pollution during the games, closing hundreds of factories and power plants, halting major construction works, and imposing driving bans on trucks and automobiles. Pollution levels fell dramatically (sulfur dioxide down by 60%, carbon monoxide down by 48%, and nitrogen dioxide down by 43%). Medical researchers tracked a set of biological markers in 125 healthy Beijing residents and found that the markers followed the pollution levels—improving during the games and rebounding to near pre-Olympic levels after the pollution controls were relaxed.

    Source: University of Rochester Medical Center. “Beijing Olympics provides rare window into air pollution’s effect on health.” May 15, 2012. Online at:

  • Allocative efficiency

    Allocative efficiency occurs when the mix of products produced matches consumer preferences (where marginal benefit equals marginal cost). These products (and services) are the most profitable, thereby promoting economic growth.

  • Alternative definitions and measures of informality

    The informal sector is also referred to as the shadow, black, or hidden economy. The exact definition and measurement vary widely, depending on the data and the research goals.

    “Productive” definitions: Informality is considered an attribute of a firm or unit of production. For example, a firm can be considered informal if it avoids taxes or regulations, or if it lacks a legal entity separate from its owners, a formal accounting system, and so on. In some cases, any activity not registered by the state is considered informal.

    Social protection or “legalistic” definitions: Informality is seen as an attribute of a job. Informal employees are those not covered by labor market institutions like the minimum wage, union-bargained collective contracts, and social security.

  • Alternative labels for in-plant alliances

    In-plant alliances are also called company-level pacts for employment and competitiveness, in-plant alliances for job security, alliances for jobs, corporate alliances, employment pacts, (social) partnership agreements, and concession bargaining. Concession bargaining as the US type of in-plant alliance means that local unions receive almost nothing (except implicit short-term employment guarantees) in return for their plant-level concessions.

  • Alternative terminology for dependent and independent variables

    Dependent variable: regressand, variable of interest, outcome variable, y-variable

    Independent variables: explanatory variables, covariates, regressors, exogenous variables, control variables, x-variables

  • An example of the motivation for a minimum wage

    “It is hereby declared the policy of the State to rationalize the fixing of minimum wages and to promote productivity-improvement and gain-sharing measures to ensure a decent standard of living for the workers and their families; to guarantee the rights of labor to its just share in the fruits of production; to enhance employment generation in the countryside through industry dispersal; and to allow business and industry reasonable returns on investment, expansion and growth.”

    Philippine Wage Rationalization Act of 1988, sec. 2.

  • An example of the registration process in Bolivia

    The steps toward formalization differ from country to country. In Bolivia, for instance, firms have to register their business with several different agencies, including the tax authorities, and obtain a business license from a government office and the registry of commerce. Firms with employees must register their workers with the social security system, the health system, and possibly the labor ministry.

    Source: McKenzie, D., and Y. S. Sakho. “Does it pay firms to register for taxes? The impact of formality on firm profitability.” Journal of Development of Economics 91 (2010): 15–24.

  • Analysis of German Socio-Economic Panel survey data

    The German Socio-Economic Panel survey distinguishes between employed residents (those in paid work for at least one hour during the week prior to the interview) and unemployed residents (individuals who have not been working during the week prior to the interview and are registered at the unemployment office) of West Germany. Trends are based on regressions with control variables for the number of times an individual has participated in the survey, the survey mode (computer assisted, oral, or written), and the month of the interview. The estimates adjust for potential measurement effects related to the circumstances of the interview. Thus the reported trends are calibrated to a first-time participant completing a paper-and-pencil questionnaire in March. Sampling weights are used.

  • Analytic methods applied to obesity and labor market outcomes

    Ordinary least squares (OLS) is a statistical method that allows researchers to relate labor market outcomes (earnings, employment, or occupation) to obesity, while controlling for the influence of other factors that predict these outcomes, including education and work experience, in order to isolate the effect of obesity on the outcome of interest.

    Instrumental variables is a preferred analytic method when there are concerns about reverse causality, or when important unobservable factors are time-varying. This technique involves finding a variable (the instrument) that is highly predictive of an individual’s obesity but completely unrelated to that individual’s labor market outcomes except through its effect on obesity.

  • Anonymous job applications

    Anonymous (or blind) job applications do not include any information about an applicant’s status as a member of a minority or other disadvantaged group in the written application documents that recruiters use in deciding whom to invite for a job interview. Although the characteristics that are left out vary in different settings, these would typically include the applicant’s name, contact details, gender, picture, age, place of birth, nationality, marital status, and number of children.

  • Apprenticeship

    A program of courses, work-based learning, and productive employment in which workers achieve occupational mastery and industry-recognized credentials. Unlike school-based vocational education, apprenticeships involve extensive work-based learning and practice; real jobs involving production, pay, and the discipline of work; and close mentoring by professionals. Unlike on-the-job training contracts, apprenticeships include related courses and the development of occupational mastery, not simply the ability to do a particular job.

  • Appropriate policy responses to the brain drain are country-specific

    Should home countries rethink their education policies in the face of the brain drain? Home-country governments could respond to the departure of the highly educated by reducing the public supply of higher education. Other possible routes include promoting the education of graduates abroad or adjusting the quality of local education.

    Are the immigration policies of host countries at odds with their aid and development policies? Selective immigration policies aimed at highly educated and skilled workers may or may not contradict the objectives of developed countries’ aid and development programs.

    Is a “tax on brains” required for a better sharing of the global surplus arising from international high-skilled migration? Taxing emigrants could help in compensating poor countries for the potential loss of human capital and in redistributing the financial benefits that accrue to skilled emigrants. But it would be inappropriate if the originating country actually benefits from the brain drain, if emigrants were unemployed or ineffectively employed at home, if they emigrated to escape corruption, violence, and economic discrimination, or if their education was privately financed and/or acquired abroad. Such a tax could also deter return migration and encourage emigrants to voluntarily forfeit their natural-born citizenship.

  • Automation, globalization, and basic income

    Recent studies document the tremendous impact of technology on jobs and skills, a sharp increase in income and wage inequality, and a drop in labor’s share in national income since the 1990s. In principle, both automation and globalization can bring universal gains. In practice, there are winners and losers—and just a few big winners but many more moderate to big losers (Spence, 2011; Standing, 2012; Sachs and Kotlikoff, 2012; Krugman, 2013; Hughes, 2014; Marchant et al., 2014). How large the benefits and costs are and how they are distributed depend on the redistribution mechanisms. Several studies have proposed unconditional basic income as the most appropriate mechanism for redistributing the benefits of automation and globalization (Standing, 2012; Krugman, 2013; Hughes, 2014). Sachs and Kotlikoff (2012) propose an intergenerational version of the universal basic income.

    Sources: Hughes, J. J. “A strategic opening for a basic income guarantee in the global crisis created by AI, robots, desktop manufacturing and biomedicine.” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24:1 (2014): 45–61.

    Krugman, P. “Sympathy for the Luddites.” The New York Times, June 13, 2013.

    Marchant, G. E., Y. A. Stevens, and J. M. Hennessy. “Technology, unemployment & policy options: Navigating the transition to a better world.” Journal of Evolution and Technology 24:1 (2014): 26–44.

    Sachs, J. D., and L. J. Kotlikoff. Smart Machines and Long Term Misery. NBER Working Paper No. 18629, 2012.

    Spence, M. “Globalization and unemployment: The downside of integrating markets.” Foreign Affairs, July/August 2011.

    Standing, G. “Responding to the crisis: Economic stabilization grants.” Policy & Politics 39:1 (2012): 9–25.


  • Bargaining councils in South Africa

    Bargaining councils in South Africa are organizations formed by unions and employer federations to negotiate collective agreements and resolve labor disputes. Most bargaining councils represent groupings of the 354 magisterial districts that map to political boundaries. For more information, see: Magruder, J. “High unemployment yet few small firms: The role of centralized bargaining in South Africa.” AEJ: Applied Economics 4:3 (2012): 138–166.

  • Behavioral microsimulation of benefit and tax reforms

    Behavioral microsimulation is used to predict the effects of reforms (such as changes to the benefit and tax systems) taking into account individual and household behavioral responses to changes in the economic environment. Behavioral microsimulation uses data sets containing detailed information on individual choices (e.g. work choices), constraints (prices, income), and personal characteristics of a large sample of individuals or households. Data are used to develop a statistical model that, given a certain configuration of constraints and personal characteristics, predicts (probabilistically) the choices individuals and households will make. This helps in evaluating tax and benefit reforms and identifying optimal tax and benefit systems (Aaberge and Colombino, 2013). Aaberge and Colombino (2014) provide a recent survey.

    Sources: Aaberge, R., and U. Colombino. “Labour supply models.” In: O’Donoghue, C. (ed.). Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014.

    Aaberge, R., and U. Colombino. “Using a microeconometric model of household labour supply to design optimal income taxes.” Scandinavian Journal of Economics 115:2 (2013): 448–475.

  • Benefits terminology

    Among the able-bodied working-age population, means-tested welfare benefits, if any, provide a guaranteed minimum income level to jobless people. These benefits should be distinguished from unemployment insurance benefits, which are not means-tested.

    Hiring subsidies intend to lower the cost of labor when employers recruit from particular groups.

    Wage subsidies (or worker subsidies) intend to raise the effective wage earned. They are often individually based, time-limited, and not means-tested.

    In-work benefits (IWB) (also called work allowance, earnings supplements, or employment-conditional benefits) are instead subject to a family income based means-test.

    Low-income support is a broader notion. In addition to the minimum income guarantee and to IWB, low-income support can, for instance, include housing benefits, additional childcare benefits for the needy, or transfers in kind.

  • Beveridge curve: Definition

    The Beveridge curve (BC) plots the relationship over time between the unemployment rate and the job openings (vacancy) rate. The curve is negatively sloped. As the economy slows, the unemployment rate rises and the vacancy rate falls, reflecting cyclical movements in labor demand. An outward shift in the BC implies that there is a higher unemployment rate for a given vacancy rate reflecting a reduced efficiency of matching workers to jobs.

    Lazear, E. P., and J. R. Spletzer. “The US labor market: Status quo or a new normal?” In: Annual Proceedings of the Jackson Hole Federal Reserve Conference, 2012.

  • Beveridge curve: Movement and shifts

    The Beveridge curve is the relationship between movements in the unemployment rate and the vacancy rate over time. In general, the two move in opposite directions, leading to a negative relationship. When the economy moves from an expansion period (and a relatively tight labor market) to a recession period (and a slack labor market), the unemployment rate rises and the vacancy rate falls, leading to movement along the Beveridge curve.

    In general, fluctuations over the business cycle lead to movements up and down the Beveridge curve. Factors outside the business cycle cause the Beveridge curve to shift. These shifts are interpreted by economists as changes in the efficiency of the matching process. Outward shifts occur when there are more unemployed workers for a given level of vacancies in the economy. These shifts are interpreted as a reduction in matching efficiency because more vacancies are required to achieve the same level of unemployment.

    Essentially, anything that affects the hiring rate without affecting the ratio of unemployed job-seekers to open vacancies will lead to a shift in the Beveridge curve. This includes changes in policy, changes in the technology and methods job-seekers and employers use to seek each other out, changes in the level of uncertainty in the economy, and changes in the effort made by either job-seekers or employers.

  • Brideprice

    The “brideprice,” also known as bride wealth or price token, simply put, is property or money brought from the groom’s side to the bride’s. The custom of brideprice dates back as far as 300 BCE and continues today in places such as Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, China, and Taiwan, although it is most prevalent in Africa, with more than 90% of sub-Saharan societies making these marriage payments.

    Payments from the groom’s side are either passed straight to the bride’s parents (called “bride price”) or to the bride (called “dower”). Brideprice—passed to the parents—is standard in sub-Saharan Africa, whereas dower—remaining the bride’s property throughout marriage—is more common in traditional Islamic marriages.

    Source: Anderson, S. “The economics of dowry and brideprice.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 21:4 (2007): 151–174.

  • Business-cycle contingencies in practice

    The US unemployment compensation program allows for payment of unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. Under the permanent extended benefits program, states may extend benefits for an additional 13−20 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate in the state (the 13 weeks must be granted if the unemployment rate is above a certain threshold, but states may adopt an alternative model allowing up to 20 weeks). Under temporary programs, benefits may be extended further during economic crises, as has happened with discretionary initiatives eight times since the 1950s.

    The federal emergency unemployment program was introduced in 2008 in response to the rise in unemployment following the financial crisis, and it has since been adjusted 11 times. The system has four tiers. The first tier is a general duration extension of 14 weeks. The following tiers allow for a benefit extension of up to 33 weeks, depending on the state unemployment rate. All tiers were temporary and expired under current law at the end of 2013. In sum, the maximum benefit duration was increased from 26 to 60–99 weeks in response to the crisis. The decline in unemployment during 2012 implies that the maximum benefit duration is decreasing.

    The Canadian scheme is more sophisticated, since it is entirely rule-based and operates with business-cycle contingencies in three dimensions (benefit eligibility, level, and duration). The trigger is the regional (there are 13 regions) unemployment rate, which determines the eligibility, level, and duration of benefits. These contingencies are tabulated and transparent to all. Unemployed workers can receive unemployment insurance from 19 weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks, depending on the local unemployment rate.


  • Capturing the emigration decision

    From a migrant-sending country perspective, tracing actual migrants in their destination countries is costly. Instead, the emigration decision is usually proxied by questions on the willingness, preparedness, and intention to migrate and by questions on the specific actions taken to realize those intentions. Studies based on data collected for the same people over time have shown that migration plans are good predictors of actual moves. Nonetheless, not everybody who reports a general desire to migrate and has specific migration plans will actually migrate.

  • Child labor: Short definition

    Child labor is work that is prohibited under local laws or that is harmful to child development.

  • Cognition and its components

    Cognition is a broad set of mental abilities for processing the data received by the senses and memory. It is the ability to accumulate new information, process it, connect it to existing information, and exploit it to solve problems and confront new situations. A useful classification of cognitive skills distinguishes between fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence (Cattell, 1963).

    Fluid intelligence refers to the ability to solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge: processing speed, problem solving, abstract reasoning, spatial ability, and so on.

    Crystallized intelligence is the automatic ability to use pre-existing knowledge by accessing long-term memory, and it includes vocabulary size, semantic meaning, and general information.

    Cattell, R. B. “Theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence: A critical experiment.” Journal of Educational Psychology 54:1 (1963): 1–22.

  • Cognitive and non-cognitive child outcomes

    Cognitive outcomes refers to ability in areas such as literacy and numeracy (usually measured by test scores), grades, drop-out rates, average years of schooling, employment, career achievements, and wages.

    Non-cognitive outcomes refers to a set of attitudes and behaviors that can contribute to cognitive outcomes, including motivation, perseverance, self-control, resilience, and creativity.

  • Collective bargaining contract extensions

    Collective bargaining contract extensions are legal acts through which collective contracts bargained by a set of unions and employers are declared binding for all firms in an industry or region. Extensions take three main forms:

    • A public authority such as the ministry of labor, under power of law, declares the contract binding for all employees in an industry or region.

    • An industry or region adopts a collective contract signed in another industry or region.

    • Any firm granted a public contract is required, as a condition of the contract, to adopt a collective agreement.

    In France, Portugal, and Spain, firm-level agreements co-exist with industry-level agreements. In Portugal, while 80% of workers are covered by some type of collective contract, only about 10% of the labor force is covered by firm-level contracts. In France, all firms represented by the employer association that signed the contract are bound by the conditions. In a second step, at the request of the employers or the unions, public authorities can extend the agreement to all workers in the industry. A similar system applies in Portugal.

    In Spain, where firm- and industry-level agreements also coexist, the majority of workers are covered by industry-province agreements. Unions obtain legitimacy to bargain a collective contract by reaching a minimum threshold in firm-level elections of employer representatives. Extensions are automatic once unions and employers have registered the collective contract at the Ministry of Labor.

    In neither Portugal nor Spain are collective contract extensions subject to a vote of the employers and employees. Recent legislation in Portugal has limited extensions by applying minimum representative thresholds. In Spain, reforms in 2010 and 2012 have tried to facilitate the process by which a firm can temporarily suspend the application of clauses in a collective contract.

    Extensions are subject to some thresholds in Germany and the Netherlands. In Germany, collective contracts can be extended to a new employer if the employer joins a federation that already has an agreement. Alternatively, at the request of one bargaining party, public authorities can apply a collective contract to all workers in an industry if at least 50% of workers in the industry are represented in the original agreement and the extension is considered to be in the public interest. The procedure in the Netherlands is similar, but the minimum percentage of workers represented in the original agreement must be 55%. Extensions are common in the Netherlands, but less so in Germany.

    Cardoso, A. R., and P. Portugal. “Contractual wages and the wage cushion under different bargaining settings.” Journal of Labor Economics 23:4 (2005): 875–902.

    Source: Vissers, J. Wage Bargaining Institutions from Crisis to Crisis. European Commission Economic Paper No. 488, April 2013.

  • Colombia’s Youth in Action training program

    The Youth in Action (Jóvenes en Acción) training program in Colombia in 2001–2005 increased female employment and earnings.

    • The publicly funded program targeted young men and women aged 18–25 in the lowest income groups living in large cities.

    • The first stage included three months of classroom training in administrative occupations (such as sales, secretarial work, and marketing) and manual occupations (such as electricians, cooking assistants).

    • Classroom training was provided by private training institutions that were selected based on their course proposals. In developing these proposals, the training institutions consulted firms to identify their skill demands. The private training institutions were paid market rates conditional on participants’ course completion.

    • The second stage consisted of three months of on-the-job training (internships) provided by legally registered companies in the manufacturing, retail, trade, and service sectors. Firms were not obliged to pay trainees a salary and were not committed to hiring them at the end of the program.

    • Trainees received a stipend of US$2.20 a day for the duration of the program (about six months); for women with children under school age, the stipend was raised to US$3.00 to help cover childcare costs.

    Source: Attanasio, O., A. Kugler, and C. Meghir. “Subsidizing vocational training for disadvantaged youth in Colombia: Evidence from a randomized trial.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 3:3 (2011): 188–220.

  • Common types of property division in divorce

    “Title-based” regimes of property division allocate the assets of divorcing couples between divorcing spouses according to who holds ownership title of each asset.

    Community property regimes divide marital assets and debts equally between divorcing spouses.

    Equitable distribution regimes leave discretion to the courts in dividing the assets of divorcing spouses, in order to achieve “equity” or protect the more vulnerable party.

  • Complementary or supplemental labor

    Workers who need to work together in certain proportions to accomplish a task and thus who do not compete with each other for positions. Employers need both substitutable and complementary workers.

  • Corporate income tax terms
    • Corporate income tax: Tax to be paid on corporate income. The tax is of concern for entrepreneurs who incorporate their business and thus create a legal entity for their entrepreneurship activities.

    • Deductibility of business expenses: A higher deductibility of business expenses reduces the taxable corporate income of a firm, thus reducing the amount of corporate income taxes to be paid.

    • Effective average tax rate (EATR): Proportional decrease in the rate of return of a hypothetical investment following taxation of the income stream generated by the investment.

    • Progressive tax: A tax rate that increases along with the payer’s taxable income.

    • Statutory and effective corporate income tax rate: The statutory corporate income tax rate refers to the rate imposed on the taxable income of corporations; the effective corporate income tax rate refers to the taxes a corporation pays as a percentage of the corporation’s economic profit. The effective corporate income tax rate is lower than the statutory income tax rate when the corporation’s taxable income is lower than its economic profit (for example due to tax credits, high write offs, non-taxable income, etc.).

    Source: Henrekson, M., D. Johannson, and M. Stenkula. “Taxation, labor market policy and high-impact entrepreneurship.” Journal of Industry, Competition, and Trade 10 (2010): 275–296; Da Rin, M., M. Di Giacomo, and A. Sembenelli. “Entrepreneurship, firm entry, and the taxation of corporate income: Evidence from Europe.” Journal of Public Economics 95:9–10 (2011): 1048–1066.

  • Cross-price elasticities

    Demand elasticities are easily accessible measures characterizing the responsiveness of the demand for a particular (input or consumer) good to changes in prices. While own-price elasticities measure the responsiveness of the demand for a good to changes in prices for the good itself, cross-price elasticities quantify the percentage change in demand for an input good relative to a 1% price increase for another input. For example, cross-price elasticities greater than zero imply substitutability: When the price of input A increases, the demand for this input decreases (negative own-price elasticity), while demand for input B increases. Hence, input A can at least to some extent be replaced by input B. On the contrary, negative cross-price elasticities imply complementarity: When input A’s price increases, not only its own demand falls, but so does demand for input B, since both inputs are needed in a particular proportion. The absolute size of cross-price elasticities, either positive or negative, indicates how strongly demand reacts to price changes. Elasticities close to zero imply very limited reactions and vice versa. Both the sign as well as the size of cross-price elasticities depend on how different input goods interact in the production process, which is in the end a matter of production technology.

  • Cross-section analysis, panel data analysis, and lagged variables

    Cross-section analysis refers to the analysis where many units of observation are observed at the same point in time or without regard to differences in time. Panel data analysis refers to the analysis when the same units of observation are observed across time. Cross-sectional analysis compares the differences among subjects while panel analysis examines changes in variables over time and differences in variables between subjects.

    A lagged variable is a variable whose value is equal to its value from an earlier time period.

  • Current account reversals

    A country’s current account receives payments for exports of goods and services, and renders payment for imports of the same. It also pays and receives interest, dividends, emigrants’ remittances from earnings abroad, and other international financial transfers. A current account reversal occurs when external financing to support current account deficits dries up.

    Source: Adalet, M., and B. Eichengreen. Current Account Reversals: Always a Problem? NBER Working Paper No. 11643, 2013. Online at: [Accessed October 1, 2015].

  • Current marriage payment legislations from around the world

    Islamic law: In Islamic law, a groom must give the bride a mahr (dower) on the occasion of their marriage.

    Afghanistan: Article 14 of Afghanistan’s 1971 Law on Marriage introduces mahr (dower) as a requirement for a valid Muslim marriage.

    Bangladesh: Laws prohibiting dowry include: Dowry Prohibition Act, 1980; Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Ordinance, 1982; and Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Ordinance, 1986.

    India: The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961—valid throughout India except in Jammu and Kashmir—prohibits the payment of a dowry under Indian civil law. This has since been added to by Sections 304b and 498a of the Indian Penal Code.

    Kenya: The Marriage Act 2014 dropped plans to ban the payment of bride prices, although it does limit dowry payments: “where dowry required, payment of a token amount’s sufficient to prove marriage.”

    Morocco: In Moroccan law, it is expressly forbidden for the bride’s guardian to receive any payment from the prospective groom in consideration of marriage.

    Nepal: In Nepal, as in many parts of Southeast Asia, the tradition of requiring a bride’s family to provide a dowry is illegal but its practice is common. The dowry system was banned completely by the Social Customs and Practices Act 2009.

    Pakistan: Several laws in Pakistan prohibit dowries, including: West Pakistan Dowry (Prohibition of Display) Act, 1967; Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) Act, 1976.

    Tanzania: Tanzania’s Marriage Act of 1971 does not mention bride price as a prerequisite for marriage, although the practice is widely accepted among the country’s numerous ethnic communities.

    Uganda: The Ugandan Supreme Court has ruled that bride price should stay, despite recent haggling over the Marriage and Divorce Bill; their ruling said that bride price must stay because it is in line with African norms, virtues, and traditions.