A ‘bright’ side of war? Armed conflict and female teen marriage in Azerbaijan

Does exposure to armed conflict influence female teen marriage? Despite increasing attention to early marriage, its drivers and consequences, quantitative research on whether teen unions are affected by situations of armed violence is minimal. This paper addresses this gap by examining the relationship between exposure to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh over 1992- 1996 and teen marriage outcomes in Azerbaijan. Using data from the 2006 Demographic and Health Survey and from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, I compare cohorts at risk of teen union before and during the conflict climax years with a modelling strategy that exploits information on forced displacement and spatial variation in conflict exposure. Results show that exposure to war violence in adolescent ages, its intensity and frequency, are associated with a lower risk of teen marriage. The largest reductions are observed in the cohorts who spent most of their adolescent ages under conflict and who were displaced as a result. For never- migrant conflict-affected girls, declines extend to the youngest cohorts. The combination of age at conflict exposure, its duration and the experience of disruptive events like forced migration matters for teen marriage outcomes.

Download File