Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development?

69 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2014

See all articles by Matthias Doepke

Matthias Doepke

Northwestern University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Michèle Tertilt

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 6 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 21, 2014

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that money in the hands of mothers (as opposed to fathers) increases expenditures on children. From this, should we infer that targeting transfers to women is good economic policy? In this paper, we develop a non-cooperative model of household decision making to answer this question. We show that when women have lower wages than men, they may spend more on children, even when they have exactly the same preferences as their husbands. However, this does not necessarily mean that giving money to women is a good development policy. We show that depending on the nature of the production function, targeting transfers to women may be beneficial or harmful to growth. In particular, such transfers are more likely to be beneficial when human capital, rather than physical capital or land, is the most important factor of production.

Keywords: female empowerment, gender equality, development, theory of the household

JEL Classification: D130, J160, O100

Suggested Citation

Doepke, Matthias and Tertilt, Michèle, Does Female Empowerment Promote Economic Development? (February 21, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4661. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2407922

Matthias Doepke (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Michèle Tertilt

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
43
Abstract Views
499
PlumX Metrics