Feb 29, 2012


The institution known as baad is an mechanism used typically in criminal justice systems of Pashtun societies. In baad the family of a harmed individual abducts a young girl from the family of the one who caused the harm. The abducted girls are typically treated very poorly and held against their will. Consequently, outrage over this cultural institution has arisen. I use the tools of game theory to assess the hypothesis that such an institution exists only because men in the society place a low value on women. The model shows, though, that baad arises only when, from the perspective of heads of households, women have intermediate values. If they are valued too highly, the threat deters all activity and baad abductions never occur. If they are valued too low, the abduction is found insufficient by the aggrieved and alternative punishment are sought. The model is able to identify the factors that contribute to the prevalence of the institution as well.
That is the abstract of the article "A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Baad" by Bryan C. McCannon (2012). 
A short article by Wahida Paykan (2009) gives more information about baad:
Baad is a traditional means of settling disputes in Afghanistan, and usually involves giving a young girl to the family of the perceived victim of a crime.

. . . Baad is an ancient tradition in Afghanistan, dating back to the days when no central legal authority existed, and conflicts were settled through the tribal system.
Obviously women oppose this practice and favor a formal type of justice system. See for example this article by Manganaroa and Poland (2012).  
According to this NYT article (February 16, 2012) baad "is pervasive in rural southern and eastern Afghanistan."

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