Goody has demonstrated a historical correlation between the practices of "diverging devolution" (dowry) and the development of intensive plough agriculture on the one hand, and homogenous inheritance (brideprice) and extensive hoe agriculture on the other.
When families give dowry, they not only ensure their daughter's economic security, they also "buy" the best possible husband for her, and son-in-law for themselves.
Even in the oldest available records, such as the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon, the dowry is described as an already-existing custom.
She notes that Goody's is an evolutionary model in which these historical variables may not be the decisive factors today.) later argued that Goody's overall thesis remained pertinent in North India, although it required modification to meet local circumstances.
He points out that dowry in North India is only partially used as a bride's conjugal fund, and that a large part goes directly to the groom's joint family.
Bridewealth circulates property and women, and is typical of societies where property is limited.
Dowry concentrates property and is found in property owning classes or commercial or landed pastoral peoples.In case of divorce without reason, a man was required to give his wife the dowry she brought as well as the bride price the husband gave.The return of dowry could be disputed, if the divorce was for a reason allowed under Babylonian law.Dowries continue to be expected, and demanded as a condition to accept a marriage proposal, in some parts of the world, mainly in parts of Asia, Northern Africa and the Balkans.In some parts of the world, disputes related to dowry sometimes result in acts of violence against women, including killings and acid attacks.In contrast, plough agriculture is associated with private property and marriage tends to be monogamous, to keep the property within the nuclear family.