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Who Has Most Say in Cooking?


  • Raghav Gaiha
  • Raghbendra Jha


  • Vani S. Kulkarni,


The present analysis seeks to build on household economics literature by focusing on who in fact has most say in cooking-the female spouse, the husband or a senior female member/ the mother-in-law-and how this role is shaped by a diversity of factors (e.g. caste, type of family, demographic characteristics, educational attainments, affluence, and location). A complex but not implausible pattern is revealed in which all these variables matter in varying degrees. To the extent that caste, type of family, number of male and female adults in paid employment, their educational attainments, and lifestyle differences matter, the familiar story of a more decisive role of women in paid employment in influencing household allocation of resources for food, health and education needs reexamination. More importantly, if the patterns of decision-making revealed by our analysis are associated with more varied nutritional and other health related outcomes, the policies designed to influence the latter are far from obviousespecially in light of the important roles of cultural values and evolving life style patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Raghav Gaiha & Raghbendra Jha & Vani S. Kulkarni,, 2009. "Who Has Most Say in Cooking?," ASARC Working Papers 2009-19, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:pas:asarcc:2009-19

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    cooking decisions; family structure; caste; affluence; location;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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