The authors combine novel data and methodology to shed light on the contribution to dowry of a composite characteristic that they refer to a child quality. Their findings can be summarized as follows: (1) Dowry values are not determined by household characteristics alone: child quality is a very significant determinant of dowry; (2) Quality is not a homogenous attribute for boys and girls: They distinguish them between "high-level" quality (which matters for boys) and "low-level" quality (which matters for girls); (3) High-level quality does not begin revealing itself until the child enters school, whereas low-level quality starts becoming apparent at an earlier stage; (4) An increase in quality in girls appears to increase their dowry values: they argue that this is consistent with the idea that girls marry up and that quality has a horizontal component; (5) For boys, quality gets partially absorbed into educational attainments, whereas for girls quality continues to matter because it does not get translated into educational investments.
Chari, Amalavoyal V. and Annemie Maertens, Learning your Child's Price: Evidence from Data on Projected Dowry in Rural India. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2011. https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR899.html.
Chari, Amalavoyal V. and Annemie Maertens, Learning your Child's Price: Evidence from Data on Projected Dowry in Rural India, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, WR-899, 2011. As of May 12, 2022: https://www.rand.org/pubs/working_papers/WR899.html