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With proven detrimental impacts on women and their offspring, preventing child marriage is an important aspect of the struggle to reduce global poverty.In this video, CRISTINA BELLÉS-OBRERO analyzes the effectiveness of legislative measures designed to combat child marriage in Mexico since 2014. Taking advantage of the fact that the laws were implemented gradually by the different Mexican states, applying a ‘difference in difference’ model alongside data on births, marriages and school attendance, Bellés-Obrero shows that the reforms had no impact on factors including girls’ educational attainment or the health of their babies at the moment of delivery. Because informal unions offer an attractive alternative to formal marriage in Mexico, the reforms have not had the desired effects. Further research will explore whether the inferior legal status of girls in informal unions compared to their formally married peers actually exacerbates the negative effects associated with child marriage.


Cristina Bellés-Obrerois a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Mannheim and a Research Affiliate at the IZA Institute for Labor Economics. Previously a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Girona, Bellés-Obrero’s work focuses on the economics of education, health economics and labor economics. Her research has received awards and support from institutions including Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona), Banc Sabadell and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.


University of Mannheim (Universität Mannheim)

For generations, the University of Mannheim has been preparing students to take on leadership roles in business, academia, and society. One of the university’s strengths in this task is its profile, which is characterized by the economic and social sciences. It is in these fields that the University of Mannheim has repeatedly been ranked as one of the top 20 European research institutions. Key focuses of Mannheim researchers include decision-making processes and elections, governance, regulation, competition and innovation, migration and multilingualism, and the culture of change. The campus surrounding Mannheim’s baroque palace is a place where bright minds from across the globe come together to learn, discuss, research, and prepare to make their mark on the world.
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Original publication

Will You Marry Me, Later? Age-of-Marriage Laws and Child Marriage in Mexico

Bellés-Obrero Cristina and Lombardi Marıa
Published in 2019

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