Essays on Women's Bargaining Power: Evidence from India

Susan Wangari Kibe, Fordham University


Despite a decade of advancement in meeting many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender gaps persist as progress has been imbalanced and inadequate, especially for women and girls. Using data from the 2004–05 and 2011-12 rounds of the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS), this paper hopes to shed light on whether the determinants of intra-household bargaining power for women change with time and if these determinants differ across domains, especially those concerning children, financial inclusion, and women’s mobility. Results reveal woman’s age and her completed years of education as important determinants of bargaining power over all decisions across the three domains and across time. Household’s level of income is consistently negatively related to the decision on who has the most say on whom the child will wed in the both rounds of data. The 2011–12 analysis also shows that the age of the male head of the household is negatively related to women’s empowerment in all three domains. Dynamic panel regression results reveal partial to little path dependence in measures of intra-household bargaining power suggesting that women’s bargaining power can change and consequently, policy instruments can be used to improve women’s position in the household. Our study’s heterogeneity regressions also reveal path dependence as varying across religious, caste and education level lines. Across domains, greater path dependence on bargaining power is found for Hindu, upper caste and to a certain extent, women with some college years of education.

Subject Area

Womens studies|Economics|South Asian Studies|Gender studies

Recommended Citation

Kibe, Susan Wangari, "Essays on Women's Bargaining Power: Evidence from India" (2017). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10277270.