A "Modern Family": Development and Intra-household Decisions in India 公开

Woo, Jacqueline Zhen-Li (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/x346d481g?locale=zh
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Abstract

Development organizations have recently paid much attention to women's empowerment as a means to offset gender discrimination and reduce poverty. While women are traditionally given responsibility for the household's welfare in developing countries, they are deprived of adequate resources to maximize that welfare; men instead assume decision-making responsibility for all matters, and this does not always result in optimal household outcomes. Community-based women's organizations, Mahila Mandals, physical development, and increases in education can improve women's bargaining power within the household and affect the locus of decision-making.

Using OLS and logistic regressions, I use the distribution of decision-making power within a household as a proxy for women's empowerment. I examine the effect of three development inputs-Mahila Mandals, physical development, and a wife and husband's levels of education-on the decision-making power of the husband, wife, and senior couple, in rural households in India. Additionally, I look at these development inputs' impact on purdah, the traditional observance of gender segregation in South Asia.

I find that Mahila Mandals shift decision-making responsibility away from the husband to the wife and senior female, raising the possibility of inter-generational conflict between women; physical development empowers men with regard to cooking and purchasing decisions and empowers women in childbirth and childcare decisions; and that in general, increases in education empower the individual with greater education. Surprisingly, a husband whose wife has a basic level of education tends to gain more decision-making power compared to when the wife does not have an education at all. Development also tends to increase the likelihood of purdah observance, a finding consistent with ethnographic studies that report that women who observe purdah consider this more liberating as they are able to inhabit the public sphere as opposed to being confined to the household.

Given these findings, governments and development workers should ensure that males and senior females are not alienated in the process of development. Women's support groups can be formalized to aid women in navigating identity changes induced by development and mitigate any intra-household conflicts. Additionally, Western outsiders should be wary of imposing ethnocentric interpretations of purdah observance.

Table of Contents

Introduction........................................................................................... 1

Data and Methodology.............................................................................. 7

Dataset................................................................................................. 7

Empirical Model........................................................................................ 7

Data...................................................................................................... 8

Empowerment Variables............................................................................. 9

Development Variables.............................................................................. 12

Control Variables...................................................................................... 16

Results and Discussion.............................................................................. 21

Mahila Mandals........................................................................................ 21

Physical Development............................................................................... 26

Education.............................................................................................. 32

Conclusion............................................................................................. 43

References............................................................................................ 47

Appendix 1: OLS & Logistic Regression--What To Cook on a Daily Basis............. 50

Appendix 2: OLS & Logistic Regressions--Whether to Buy an Expensive Item...... 52

Appendix 3: OLS & Logistic Regression--How Many Children a Couple Has.......... 54

Appendix 4: OLS & Logistic Regressions--What to Do When a Child Falls Sick..... 56

Appendix 5: OLS & Logistic Regressions--Whom Couple's Children Should Marry.. 58

Appendix 6: OLS & Logistic Regressions--Whether Wife Practices Purdah........... 60

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