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Female Autonomy In Rural North India: Impact Of Economic, Social, And Political Factors



    () (Missouri State University)


    (Southern Illinois University)


This paper attempts to answer a number of questions concerning factors which influence female autonomy as measured by mobility in rural north India (Uttar Pradesh). It is hypothesized that a female autonomy outside the home is influenced by social, economic, and political factors. The results of the empirical analysis indicate that the availability of certain types of infrastructure along with off-farm employment opportunities at the village level have a positive influence on female autonomy. In terms of the political structure of local government, there is no evidence to support the notion that having a female Pradhan will result in greater female autonomy. However, female autonomy is enhanced if the Pradhan is from a scheduled caste and/or the Pradhan has significant political experience. Data for the 2000s shows improvements in female autonomy and female participation in local government in Uttar Pradesh. However, significant challenges continue to remain. The results have important policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharmistha Self & Richard Grabowski, 2013. "Female Autonomy In Rural North India: Impact Of Economic, Social, And Political Factors," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 59-82, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:jed:journl:v:38:y:2013:i:1:p:59-82

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ashwini Deshpande, 2002. "Assets versus Autonomy? The Changing Face of the Gender-Caste Overlap in India," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 19-35.
    2. Pushkar Maitra, 2002. "The Effect of Household Characteristics on Poverty and Living Standards in South Africa," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 27(1), pages 75-96, June.
    3. Felix K. Rioja, 2001. "Growth, Welfare, and Public Infrastructure: A General Equilibrium Analysis of Latin American Economies," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 26(2), pages 119-130, December.
    4. Raabe, Katharina & Sekher, Madhushree & Birner, Regina, 2009. "The effects of political reservations for women on local governance and rural service provision:," IFPRI discussion papers 878, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Anderson, Siwan & Eswaran, Mukesh, 2009. "What determines female autonomy? Evidence from Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(2), pages 179-191, November.
    6. Siwan Anderson, 2011. "Caste as an Impediment to Trade," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 239-263, January.
    7. Deepa Narayan, 2005. "Measuring Empowerment : Cross Disciplinary Perspectives," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7441, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abhishek Kumar & Valeria Bordone & Raya Muttarak, 2016. "Like Mother(-in-Law) Like Daughter? Influence of the Older Generation’s Fertility Behaviours on Women’s Desired Family Size in Bihar, India," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(5), pages 629-660, December.

    More about this item


    Female Autonomy; Female Mobility; Village Governance; Rural North India; Female Village Pradhan; Schedule Caste Village Pradhan;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


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