DP8441 Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development?

Author(s): Matthias Doepke, Michèle Tertilt
Publication Date: June 2011
Keyword(s): Development, Female Empowerment, Gender Equality, Marital Bargaining, Theory of the Household
JEL(s): D13, J16, O10
Programme Areas: International Macroeconomics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=8441

Empirical evidence suggests that money in the hands of mothers (as opposed to their husbands) benefits children. Does this observation imply that targeting transfers to women is good economic policy? We develop a series of noncooperative family bargaining models to understand what kind of frictions can give rise to the observed empirical relationships. We then assess the policy implications of these models. We find that targeting transfers to women can have unintended consequences and may fail to make children better off. Moreover, different forms of empowering women may lead to opposite results. More research is needed to distinguish between alternative theoretical models.