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The Bargaining Power of Missing Women: Evidence from a Sanitation Campaign in India

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  • Stopnitzky, Yaniv

Abstract

Female bargaining power in rural Haryana, as in much of northern India, is constrained by widespread discrimination against women. In recent years, however, women successfully demand private sanitation facilities from potential husbands as a precondition for marriage. I study this manifestation of bargaining power by modeling latrine adoption as an investment that males can make to improve their desirability on the marriage market, and I show that increasing proportions of females with strong sanitation preferences drive male investment in toilets. Moreover, I demonstrate women’s ability to secure latrines increases when they are relatively scarce in a marriage market. I test these predictions empirically by studying a sanitation program in Haryana, India, known colloquially as “No Toilet, No Bride”. Using a triple difference empirical strategy based on households with and without marriageable boys, in Haryana and comparison states, before and after program exposure, I provide evidence that male investment in sanitation increased by 15% due to the program. Further, the program effect is four times larger in marriage markets where women are scarce (26%) as compared to marriage markets where women are abundant (6%). These results suggest the relative scarcity of women in Haryana has, conditional on women surviving to marriageable age, improved the ability of the remaining women to secure valuable goods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37841.

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Date of creation: 15 Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37841

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Keywords: intrahousehold bargaining; marriage market; sex ratio; sanitation; India;

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  1. Gustavo J. Bobonis, 2009. "Is the Allocation of Resources within the Household Efficient? New Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(3), pages 453-503, 06.
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Cited by:
  1. Anukriti, S, 2014. "The Fertility-Sex Ratio Trade-off: Unintended Consequences of Financial Incentives," IZA Discussion Papers 8044, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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