Uzma Afzal, Giovanna d’Adda, Marcel Fafchamps, Farah Said, 25 October 2018

Within households, an individual often makes consumption decisions for the collective. Leading intra-household decision making models predict efficiency based on perfect information about individuals’ preferences and benevolence. This column challenges these models by incorporating information asymmetry and demand for agency. Experimental evidence from Pakistan shows that household consumption decisions are shaped by a demand for agency, and that this is mediated by level of empowerment. 

Ingvild Almås, Alex Armand, Orazio Attanasio, Pedro Carneiro, 26 March 2016

Most conditional cash transfer programmes around the world target women as the recipients of transfers as a means of empowering them and promoting gender equality. However, the mechanisms at work are poorly understood and empowerment is not well defined or measured. This column discusses a new measure of female empowerment in the household within the context of a national cash transfer programme in Macedonia. Whereas conventional survey questions about power and decision-making don’t reveal any empowerment effects of the programme, this new measure reveals a positive effect.

Matthias Doepke, Michèle Tertilt, 20 June 2011

Evidence suggests that putting money in the hands of mothers (as opposed to their husbands) benefits children. Does this mean targeting transfers to women is good economic policy? The authors of CEPR DP8441 find that different forms of empowering women may lead to opposite results. More research is needed to distinguish between alternative theoretical models.

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