Abstract

Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or complete excision of external female genitalia and other damage to the female genital organs. This paper develops the identity economics of FGM as a complement to the agency-cost explanation provided by previous rational choice theorists. We analyze how identity influences the costs and benefits associated with participation in FGM, offering insight into the persistence of the practice, as well as what changing the practice entails. Our analysis also explains some of the counterintuitive phenomena associated with FGM, such as older circumcised females being the main gatekeepers who perpetuate the practice.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-2278
Print ISSN
0022-037X
Pages
pp. 137-152
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-12
Open Access
No
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