Essays on Intra-Household Bargaining Power of Women in India
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This thesis investigates the factors that affect women's bargaining power within the household, in India. The first chapter introduces the literature on household bargaining mostly by describing how household outcomes like children's health indicators and expenditure pattern change with increase in resources under women's control. The second chapter describes the conceptual framework for intra-household bargaining. It discusses the two broad topics – household bargaining models and gendered institutions, that can be used to identify avenues for increasing women's bargaining power within the household. In chapters three and four, I analyze the factors that determine women's power position, using data on women's involvement in household decision making from a nationally representative longitudinal household survey (India Human Development Survey). The survey was conducted in over 40,000 Indian households, which covers over 200,000 individuals. In the third chapter, I investigate the effect of women's labor force participation on her involvement in household decision making. After addressing the issues of endogeneity using a fixed effects model, I find that her labor market participation significantly increases her involvement in decision making process, which can be seen as a direct outcome of her increased bargaining power. In my fourth chapter I analyze whether the women's bargaining power within the household increases with the presence of female politicians at both state and local level. Studying the causal impact of a variable like female political representation is generally riddled with concerns of endogeneity for existence of voter preference. Using share of seats won by women in man-woman close elections as an instrument for overall female representation in in a fixed effect model, I show that an increase in number of female state legislators can actually lead to an increase in the bargaining power of women. This chapter further shows that increase in women's involvement in decision making process in the household is also associated with the female political representation at local level. The fifth chapter concludes the dissertation by making policy recommendation for strengthening women's bargaining position within the household.
- Doctoral Dissertations