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What determines female autonomy? Evidence from Bangladesh

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  • Anderson, Siwan
  • Eswaran, Mukesh

Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of female autonomy within households in a developing country. In particular, we investigate the relative contributions of earned versus unearned income in enhancing women's autonomy and the role of employment outside of their husband's farm. In a simple theoretical model, it is demonstrated that earned income could be more important than unearned income in empowering women. Using data from rural Bangladesh, empirical estimations confirm this prediction and also reveal the surprising fact that it is not employment per se but employment outside their husbands' farms that contributes to women's autonomy. The data also point to the importance of choosing the correct threat point in theoretical analyses of female autonomy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Pages: 179-191

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:90:y:2009:i:2:p:179-191

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

Related research

Keywords: Female autonomy Intrahousehold bargaining;

References

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  1. Goetz, Anne Marie & Gupta, Rina Sen, 1996. "Who takes the credit? Gender, power, and control over loan use in rural credit programs in Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 45-63, January.
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  5. Folbre, Nancy, 1986. "Cleaning house : New perspectives on Households and Economic Development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 5-40, June.
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  7. Mukesh Eswaran, 2002. "The empowerment of women, fertility, and child mortality: Towards a theoretical analysis," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 433-454.
  8. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
  9. Vlassoff, Carol, 1994. "From rags to riches: The impact of rural development on women's status in an Indian village," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 707-719, May.
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  13. Kabeer, Naila, 2001. "Conflicts Over Credit: Re-Evaluating the Empowerment Potential of Loans to Women in Rural Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 63-84, January.
  14. Geoffrey Lancaster & Pushkar Maitra & Ranjan Ray, 2006. "Endogenous Intra-household Balance of Power and its Impact on Expenditure Patterns: Evidence from India," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 435-460, 08.
  15. Lupin Rahman & Vijayendra Rao, 2004. "The Determinants of Gender Equity in India: Examining Dyson and Moore's Thesis with New Data," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 30(2), pages 239-268.
  16. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  17. Agnes R. Quisumbing & John A. Maluccio, 2003. "Resources at Marriage and Intrahousehold Allocation: Evidence from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and South Africa," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(3), pages 283-327, 07.
  18. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-46, October.
  19. Folbre, Nancy, 1984. "Household Production in the Philippines: A Non-neoclassical Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 303-30, January.
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  21. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
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