Published on February 24, 2008
The Marriage Imperative and “Waithood”: Youth Transitions and Economic Challenges in the Middle East” Professor Diane SingermanAmerican University From Oil Boom to Youth Boon: Tapping the Middle East Demographic Gift Monday, January 7, 2008Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings and the Dubai School of Government : The Marriage Imperative and “Waithood”: Youth Transitions and Economic Challenges in the Middle East” Professor Diane Singerman American University From Oil Boom to Youth Boon: Tapping the Middle East Demographic Gift Monday, January 7, 2008 Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings and the Dubai School of Government Sources of Data: Sources of Data Egyptian Labor Market Panel Survey (ELMPS 2006); Ragui Assaad: CAPMAS, ERF, Univ. of Minnesota, 8,349 households Household Nationally Representative Longitudinal Survey with “Marriage Module” (Compares data from 1998 and 2006). 1999 Egypt Integrated Household Survey (EIHS) sub-sample with marriage module (MM), International Food Research and Policy Institute (IFPRI) (N=405). Co-authored with Barbara Ibrahim 1997 Egypt Integrated Household Survey International Food Research and Policy Institute (2,400 HHs) Egyptian Labor Market Pilot Panel Survey (ELMPPS); CAPMAS, ERF, Univ. of Minnesota, 2003-2004, 348 HH in three governorates (Pilot study for 6,000 longitudinal panel 2006 Egyptian Labor Market Survey which revisits 1998 ELMS households). Slide3: 1. Demographic Transition = Youth Bulge 2. Structural Adjustment & Privatization Youth Unemployment = Economic Pressure on Young People and their Parents who Support them 3. Youth Unemployment = Economic Pressure on Young People Delays Marriage Even Further. Age at Marriage by Age Cohort, Gender, and Urban/Rural Region (%), ELMPS ‘06: Age at Marriage by Age Cohort, Gender, and Urban/Rural Region (%), ELMPS ‘06 WAIT ADULTHOOD= “WAITHOOD”Age at Marriage by Age Cohort and Gender (%), ELMPS ’06:: WAIT ADULTHOOD= “WAITHOOD” Age at Marriage by Age Cohort and Gender (%), ELMPS ’06: The Component Costs of Marriage in Egypt: The Component Costs of Marriage in Egypt Dower: Mahr, paid by Groom to Bride Shabka: Gift of Jewelry by Groom to Bride Furniture and Appliances: For new bridal home, largely paid by Groom Housing: Groom provides for total costs of buying/occupying an apartment Gihaz: Trousseau, Minor Appliances & Home Furnishings, Kitchenware (Bride & Groom) Celebration: Engagement and Marriage Parties (Bride & Groom) Total Marriage Costs Relative to Annual Household Expenditure Per Capita, EIHS/IFPRI ‘99: Total Marriage Costs Relative to Annual Household Expenditure Per Capita, EIHS/IFPRI ‘99 Slide8: Average Nominal Component Cost of Marriage by Cohort (LE), 2006 ELMPS EIHS 1999 National Component Costs of MarriageN=405 : EIHS 1999 National Component Costs of Marriage N=405 ELMPS 2006 National Component Costs of Marriage N=4,696 Groom’s and Father’s Total Monthly Earnings Dedicated to Marriage by Wage Quartiles* (Months; 2005LE) ELMPS 2006 : Groom’s and Father’s Total Monthly Earnings Dedicated to Marriage by Wage Quartiles* (Months; 2005LE) ELMPS 2006 * Note: Only respondents married in 1990 or later are included Economic Comparison of the National Cost of Marriage in Egypt in EIHS 1999 (in $Billions): Economic Comparison of the National Cost of Marriage in Egypt in EIHS 1999 (in $Billions) * From 1.9 million Egyptian migrants working abroad ** From the 5.5 Million Tourists who visited Egypt in 2000 Sources: Vignal and Denis 2006, 116; Saad 2002 as quoted by Williams 2006, 271 Slide12: 4. Marriage = Adulthood. 5. Sexuality = Marriage; or Sexuality is “Housed” and legitimized only within Marriage. 6. No $$$ = No Marriage = No legitimate, publicly acknowledged intimate relations … 7. Yet “marriage substitutes” are appearing Marriage “Substitutes” and Controversial Innovations: Marriage “Substitutes” and Controversial Innovations ‘Urfi (common-law, unregistered) marriage: Egypt Misyar Marriage: “Ambulant” marriage: Saudi Arabia, Gulf, now spreading elsewhere Misyaf: Summer, temporary marriages Mut’a marriage: Temporary marriage (Iran), spreading to Sunni (Lebanon) Mityar: Marriage for traveling purposes Cheaper Marriages: Cheaper Marriages Marry a Foreigner….One Egyptian newspaper article’s title: “Europe’s Old Women Search for their Femininity in Egypt: The Ghost of Unemployment is Hunting Our Youth. And the Easy Solution is to Marry an Old European Woman. `Urfi Marriage is the License for Prostitution for Girls Working in Tourist Villages” Consanguinity or Kin Marriage: Kin marriages are discounted approximately 25 percent. The rate of consanguineous marriages remains at the fairly high level of 31 percent of all marriages, which has varied remarkably little since the early 1960s. Extended Family Living: Couples that live within an extended family also reduce their marriage costs and extended family living arrangements are only slightly lower than nuclear family living--46 percent to 54 percent. FAMILY DEPENDENCY, SEXUALITY AND MORALITY: FAMILY DEPENDENCY, SEXUALITY AND MORALITY DELAYED MARRIAGE + CONTINUED PARENTAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT + PARENTAL INFLUENCE OVER CHOSING CHILD’S SPOUSE + PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS OF SEXUALITY HOUSED ONLY IN MARRIAGE + YOUTH PRE-MARITAL DATING =YOUTH LIVING IN “COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REALITIES” [Roxanne Varzi] Youth Guilt, Anxiety, Sense of Failure in Living up to Parental and Societal Expectations: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” “WAITHOOD”: “WAITHOOD” Prolonged Adolescence Obsession/High Demand for Permanent Jobs Holding out for “Permanent Job” Because it Signals Marriage ‘Eligibility’ Understand youth transition by emphasizing the school-to-work-to-MARRIAGE transition. All of these three hopes of young people and their families, need to be considered in relation to each other. The School to Work to MARRIAGE Transition: The School to Work to MARRIAGE Transition Obsession/High Demand for Permanent Jobs Because it Signals Marriage ‘Eligibility’ Parental Dependence Low Youth Wages Female Workers Saving for Marriage Educational and Career Paths Influenced by marriage? Schooling, Informal/Temporary Work Migration Marriage $$$ Education, Wasta, Status, and Dashed Hopes: Education, Wasta, Status, and Dashed Hopes Education as Citizenship Performance? Education as Social Mobility Dashed Hopes High rate of youth informal sector employment Decline of social rights of the young after neo-liberal reform? Public patrimony not invested in youth? Costs & Length of Education, Informal Sector Work and Marriage Costs FAMILY DEPENDENCY/Declining Economic Mobility The Marriage Imperative and Public Policy: The Marriage Imperative and Public Policy Public denial of these issues alienation, oppositional movements, migration, political backlash from youth? Islamist movements attack youth for supposed Westernization and immorality, but are less concerned with unemployment and other economic issues. Citizenship rights and the Legitimacy of Governments, if public patrimony is not invested in youth? Opening debates on sexuality? Directing reproductive health and information to unmarried youth?