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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.This would initially seem to discount Goody's model, except that in North India, the joint family is composed of the groom's parents, his married brothers and unmarried sisters, and their third generation children.This joint family controlled this part of the dowry, which they used to help fund their own daughter/sister's dowries.The wife was entitled to her dowry at her husband's death.If she died childless, her dowry reverted to her family, that is her father if he was alive, otherwise her brothers. Her dowry being inheritable only by her own children, not by her husband's children by other women.).This property was "beyond the dowry" (Greek parapherna, the root of paraphernalia) and is referred to as paraphernal property or extra-dotal property.
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.Close family are the preferred marriage partners so as to keep property within the group. Sylvia Yanagisko argues, for example, that there are a number of societies including parts of Japan, Southern Italy, and China, that do not support Goody's claim that dowry is a form of female inheritance of male property.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.