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Health and the Political Agency of Women

  • Sonia Bhalotra
  • Irma Clots-Figueras

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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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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