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Health and the Political Agency of Women

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  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Irma Clots-Figueras

Abstract

We investigate whether women's political representation in state legislatures improves public provision of antenatal and childhood health services in the districts from which they are elected, arguing that the costs of poor services in this domain fall disproportionately upon women. Using large representative data samples from India and accounting for potential endogeneity of politician gender and the sample composition of births, we find that a 10 percentage point increase in women's representation results in a 2.1 percentage point reduction in neonatal mortality, and we elucidate mechanisms. Women's political representation may be an underutilized tool for addressing health in developing countries.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 164-97

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:164-97

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.2.164
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nagarajan, Hari K. & Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing, 2011. "Can political reservations affect political equilibria in the long-term? Evidence from local elections in rural India," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 59, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  2. Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras & Lakshmi Iyer, 2013. "Path-Breakers: How Does Women’s Political Participation Respond to Electoral Success?," Harvard Business School Working Papers 14-035, Harvard Business School.
  3. Santosh Kumar & Nishith Prakash, 2012. "Political Decentralization, Women's Reservation and Child Health Outcomes: A Case Study of Rural Bihar," Working papers 2012-18, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  4. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Maty Konte, 2013. "Why Are Women Less Democratic Than Men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries," Working Papers halshs-00802838, HAL.
  5. Ghani, Ejaz & Mani, Anandi & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2013. "Can political empowerment help economic empowerment ? women leaders and female labor force participation in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6675, The World Bank.
  6. Bhalotra, Sonia R. & Clots-Figueras, Irma & Cassan, Guilhem & Iyer, Lakshmi, 2013. "Religion, Politician Identity and Development Outcomes: Evidence from India," IZA Discussion Papers 7473, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. repec:cge:warwcg:160 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Brollo, Fernanda & Troiano, Ugo, 2013. "What Happens When a Woman Wins an Election? Evidence from Close Races in Brazil," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 161, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  9. van den Bold, Mara & Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Gillespie, Stuart, 2013. "Women’s empowerment and nutrition: An evidence review:," IFPRI discussion papers 1294, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  10. Patricia Justino & Ivan Cardona & Rebecca Mitchell & Catherine Müller, 2012. "Quantifying the Impact of Women’s Participation in Post-Conflict Economic Recovery," HiCN Working Papers 131, Households in Conflict Network.
  11. Deininger, Klaus & Jin, Songqing & Nagarajan, Hari K. & Fang, Xia, 2011. "Does female reservation affect long-term political outcomes ? Evidence from rural India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5708, The World Bank.

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