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Does lower fertility empower women? Evidence from rural Bangladesh

Ummul Ruthbah

Economics & Human Biology, 2020, vol. 36, issue C

Abstract: Theoretically, lower fertility should enhance female autonomy. However, the impact of reduced fertility on female empowerment could be heterogeneous and differ by regions. In this paper, using a Family Planning Program in Bangladesh as an instrument for fertility, I find that lower fertility gives women access to economic resources and control over their practice of clothing and greater physical mobility. I also find that there is a trade-off in female autonomy resulting from reduced fertility. In developing countries, where the women’s position in the marriage is weak, lower fertility reduces the decision making power of the women and curtails their property rights.

Keywords: Empowerment; Family planning program; Women (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I31 J13 J16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.100813

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