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''Bargaining'' and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household

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  • Bina Agarwal

Abstract

Highlighting the problems posed by a ''unitary'' conceptualization of the household, a number of economists have in recent years proposed alternative models. These models, especially those embodying the bargaining approach, provide a useful framework for analyzing gender relations and throwing some light on how gender asymmetries are constructed and contested. At the same time, the models have paid inadequate or no attention to some critical aspects of intra-household gender dynamics, such as: What factors (especially qualitative ones) affect bargaining power? What is the role of social norms and social perceptions in the bargaining process and how might these factors themselves be bargained over? Are women less motivated than men by self-interest and might this affect bargaining outcomes? Most discussions on bargaining also say little about gender relations beyond the household, and about the links between extra-household and intra-household bargaining power. This paper spells out the nature of these complexities and their importance in determining the outcomes of intra-household dynamics. It also extends the bargaining approach beyond the household to the interlinked arenas of the market, the community and the State.

Suggested Citation

  • Bina Agarwal, 1997. "''Bargaining'' and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:3:y:1997:i:1:p:1-51 DOI: 10.1080/135457097338799
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Alderman, Harold & DEC, 1994. "Intrahousehold resource allocation : an overview," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1255, The World Bank.
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    6. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    7. Deere, Carmen Diana, 1985. "Rural women and state policy: The Latin American agrarian reform experience," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 13(9), pages 1037-1053, September.
    8. Folbre, Nancy, 1986. "Hearts and spades: Paradigms of household economics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 245-255, February.
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