Measuring Women's Decisionmaking: Indicator Choice and Survey Design Experiments from Cash and Food Transfer Evaluations in Ecuador, Uganda, and Yemen

52 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015

See all articles by Amber Peterman

Amber Peterman

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre

Benjamin Schwab

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Shalini Roy

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Melissa Hidrobo

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Daniel O. Gilligan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Date Written: August 8, 2015

Abstract

Despite wide use of women’s decisionmaking indicators, both as a direct measure of intrahousehold decisionmaking and as a proxy for women’s empowerment or bargaining power, little has been done to explore what such indicators capture and how effective they measure program impacts on empowerment. We review theoretical and operational evidence from recent literature on women’s decisionmaking and analyze survey experiments undertaken in cash and food transfer programs in Ecuador, Yemen, and Uganda from 2010 to 2012. We find large variations in how women are ranked in terms of decisionmaking depending on how indicators are constructed. In addition, we find that across countries, composite decisionmaking indicators are not consistently associated with other proxy measures of women’s empowerment or household welfare, such as women’s education levels or household food consumption. We also find mixed evidence across countries related to the impact of transfer programs on women’s decisionmaking indicators. We conclude with implications of our findings for future research and use of decisionmaking indicators for program evaluation in developing countries.

Keywords: Ecuador; Uganda; Yemen; Latin America; East Africa; Middle East; Southwestern Asia; Africa South of the Sahara; Africa; Asia; women; gender; decision making; households; food consumption; empowerment; cash transfer; social cash transfer

Suggested Citation

Peterman, Amber and Schwab, Benjamin and Roy, Shalini and Hidrobo, Melissa and Gilligan, Daniel O., Measuring Women's Decisionmaking: Indicator Choice and Survey Design Experiments from Cash and Food Transfer Evaluations in Ecuador, Uganda, and Yemen (August 8, 2015). IFPRI Discussion Paper 1453, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685232

Amber Peterman (Contact Author)

UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre ( email )

Piazza SS.Annuziata, 12
Florence, I-50122
Italy

Benjamin Schwab

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Shalini Roy

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Melissa Hidrobo

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

1201 Eye St, NW,
Washington, DC 20005
United States

Daniel O. Gilligan

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ( email )

2033 K St., NW
Washington, DC 20006-1002
United States
202-862-8146 (Phone)
202-467-4439 (Fax)

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