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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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  • Sonia Bhalotra & Irma Clots-Figueras, 2014. "Health and the Political Agency of Women," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 164-197, May.
  • 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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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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