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Gender and Network Formation in Rural Nicaragua: A Village case study


  • Ben D'Exelle
  • Nathalie Holvoet


This contribution examines the relation between gender and network formation in rural Nicaragua in 2007 and studies differences in the structure and contents of men's and women's networks. Such differences are relevant, as network theory suggests that structural characteristics - as well as the contents of networks - strongly influence the type and amount of benefits generated. Through the application of dyadic regression techniques, this study examines the determinants of the size and socioeconomic heterogeneity of individual networks. Research findings suggest gender segregation of networks and considerable differences in the structure and content of men's and women's networks. These differences relate to the gendered division of labor and to women's time poverty in particular. Our results are relevant in a context where policy makers increasingly consider social networks an important policy tool. We caution against a gender-blind alignment on existing social networks and argue for detailed mapping and unpacking of social networks through a gender lens.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben D'Exelle & Nathalie Holvoet, 2011. "Gender and Network Formation in Rural Nicaragua: A Village case study," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 31-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:17:y:2011:i:2:p:31-61
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2011.573488

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    Cited by:

    1. Perkins, Jessica M. & Subramanian, S.V. & Christakis, Nicholas A., 2015. "Social networks and health: A systematic review of sociocentric network studies in low- and middle-income countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 60-78.


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