Female Labor, Status and Decision Power

Mardi | 2020-01-14
Salle des thèses 16h – 17h20

Catherine BROS-BOBIN – Véronique GILLE – François MANIQUET

Policy debates have shown a tendency to take the empowering effect of female labour supply for granted. This assumption in grounded in theoretical models of intra-household bargaining, where a woman’s autonomy is correlated with her bargaining power that in turn depends on either her outside option or threat point. However, using Indian panel data we show that an increase in the number of hours worked by women is associated with a decrease in how much say they have in household decisions. We argue that this comes from the fact that in rural India, men loose status when their wife work. Including status concerns into a collective household model, we show that our findings are consistent with a model where decision power and labour market participation are both outcomes of the bargaining process. Our empirical findings also show that women that face a decrease in their decision power when they increase their labor supply are from households in the middle of the income distribution.