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Gender Disparity in Access to Information: Do Spouses Share What They Know?


  • Fletschner, Diana
  • Mesbah, Dina


Summary The United Nations (UN) has declared lack of access to information to be the third major challenge confronting women in developing countries, after poverty and violence. Analyzing a unique dataset of husbands and wives in rural Paraguay, we identify systematic differences between women and men's knowledge of financial markets and find that the factors that help predict individuals' knowledge of these markets vary by gender. Specifically, women are less likely than men to be informed about the financial institutions operating in their communities. Women are more likely to know what is required to obtain loans from financial institutions if they are more educated, live with other adult women, belong to wealthier households, are in a stronger bargaining position vis-à-vis their spouses, or have their husbands' approval to take out entrepreneurial loans.

Suggested Citation

  • Fletschner, Diana & Mesbah, Dina, 2011. "Gender Disparity in Access to Information: Do Spouses Share What They Know?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1422-1433, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:8:p:1422-1433

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diana Fletschner, 2008. "Women's Access to Credit: Does It Matter for Household Efficiency?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(3), pages 669-683.
    2. Stefan Dercon & Pramila Krishnan, 2000. "In Sickness and in Health: Risk Sharing within Households in Rural Ethiopia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 688-727, August.
    3. Romer, Paul, 1993. "Idea gaps and object gaps in economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 543-573, December.
    4. Fletschner, Diana & Carter, Michael R., 2008. "Constructing and reconstructing gender: Reference group effects and women's demand for entrepreneurial capital," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 672-693, April.
    5. Nava Ashraf, 2009. "Spousal Control and Intra-household Decision Making: An Experimental Study in the Philippines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1245-1277, September.
    6. Udry, Christopher, 1996. "Gender, Agricultural Production, and the Theory of the Household," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1010-1046, October.
    7. Fletschner, Diana, 2009. "Rural Women's Access to Credit: Market Imperfections and Intrahousehold Dynamics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 618-631, March.
    8. Doss, Cheryl R, 2001. "Is Risk Fully Pooled within the Household? Evidence from Ghana," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 101-130, October.
    9. Zwarteveen, M. Z., 1996. "A plot of one's own: gender relations and irrigated land allocation policies in Burkina Faso," IWMI Research Reports H019079, International Water Management Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Agarwalla, Sobhesh Kumar & Barua, Samir K. & Jacob, Joshy & Varma, Jayanth R., 2015. "Financial Literacy among Working Young in Urban India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 101-109.
    2. Njuki, Jemimah & Waithanji, Elizabeth & Sakwa, Beatrice & Kariuki, Juliet & Mukewa, Elizabeth & Ngige, John, 2014. "Can market-based approaches to technology development and dissemination benefit women smallholder farmers? A qualitative assessment of gender dynamics in the ownership, purchase, and use of irrigation," IFPRI discussion papers 1357, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal & Lybbert, Travis J., 2015. "Information networks among women and men and the demand for an agricultural technology in India:," IFPRI discussion papers 1411, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Lambrecht, Isabel & Vanlauwe, Bernard & Maertens, Miet, 2014. "Agricultural extension in eastern DR Congo: Does Gender Matter?," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182731, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Maksimov, Vladislav & Wang, Stephanie Lu & Luo, Yadong, 2017. "Reducing poverty in the least developed countries: The role of small and medium enterprises," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 244-257.
    6. Lambrecht, Isabel & Vanlauwe, Bernard & Maertens, Miet, 2014. "What is the sense of gender targeting in agricultural extension programs? Evidence from eastern DR Congo," Working Papers 167158, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centre for Agricultural and Food Economics.
    7. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal, 2013. "Female social networks and learning about a new technology in eastern Uttar Pradesh, India," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150688, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Magnan, Nicholas & Spielman, David J. & Gulati, Kajal & Lybbert, Travis, 2015. "Information Networks among Women and Men and the Demand for an Agricultural Technology in India," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212209, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Tariq, Anam & Masih, Mansur, 2015. "Analyzing the impact of financial sector growth on female empowerment: A focus on the United States of America," MPRA Paper 65826, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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