Intra-household bargaining and investment in child health

Meherun Ahmed, Carleton College

In this paper I investigate the intra-household bargaining process and investment in children’s health using Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey data for 2003. I introduce new and direct measures of empowerment which reflect a wife’s relative say in different decision making contexts. To correct the potential bias from the endogeneity of the empowerment measure, an instrumental variables approach is used. Religion and prevalence of polygyny in the neighborhood are used as instruments for the empowerment variables. Mother’s empowerment has a positive and significant impact on the long run health of her child. The decision making process in the household does not appear to be unitary, the husbands and wives have varying preferences and abilities in enforcing their tastes. This study also sheds light on the fact that empowerment is multidimensional and control of economic resources may not be the sole determinant of women’s empowerment in the developing world.

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Presented in Session 35: Family and Child Health