Gender, Bride Kidnapping, and Labor Migration in Kyrgyzstan

Erin T. Hofmann , Utah State University
Guangqing Chi, Pennsylvania State University

The Kyrgyz Republic is notable for two practices—labor migration and bride kidnapping—and these two practices may be linked. Bride kidnapping may serve as a proxy for household gender norms, with kidnapping households characterized by the strong patriarchal norms that facilitate labor migration. Kidnap marriages may be less happy than other marriages, leading spouses to be more likely to migrate as a form of escape. On the other hand, kidnap marriages may be less stable than other marriages, leading spouses to avoid migration in order to avoid divorce. We test these competing hypotheses using household survey data and find that kidnap marriage is associated with higher odds of migration at the household level, especially among men, but lower odds of migration at the individual level. The predictors of migration are also different among those in kidnap marriages. Overall, our results provide the most support for the patriarchal norms hypothesis.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 7. Migration & Urbanization