This paper provides evidence that exposure to forced displacement during women’s adolescence leads to an earlier entry into the marriage market. I develop a simple equilibrium model of the marriage market in which displaced households choose when to marry their daughters at their new destination. Using a shock to displacement, induced by the staggered occurrence of earthquakes in Indonesia, I test the model predictions. I show that when a household is displaced, affected young women experience a 47% increase in their average annual marriage hazard. Relying on individual-level longitudinal data, I find that women’s response increases with the existence of cultural norms that add further economic incentives to their households.
Results suggest three main mechanisms: bride price, matrilocal traditions, and assimilation with the local population at their destination as coping strategies with the negative economic shock of displacement. The rollout of an unconditional cash transfer program that gives monetary incentives to households mitigates the effects of displacement, providing further evidence on the mechanisms.