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Economic bargaining power and financial decision-making among married and cohabitant women in South Africa

Sevias Guvuriro and Frederik Booysen

Development Southern Africa, 2019, vol. 36, issue 4, 504-518

Abstract: Women’s economic empowerment remains an important global policy issue and their involvement in household decision-making is critical for development. This paper aims to elucidate a key feature of bargaining models of intra-household decision-making, namely the dynamics between women’s economic bargaining power and their financial decision-making power. The paper also documents trends and transitions in financial decision-making. Using balanced panel data from South Africa’s National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS), the analysis finds that women who are married or living together remain economically disadvantaged compared to their male counterparts. Although gaining ground in terms of financial decision-making responsibility, women also remain disadvantaged compared to men in terms of financial decision-making power. Yet, employment opportunities significantly enhances women’s role in financial decision-making, thus arguing a case for continued efforts at women’s economic empowerment.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2019.1581599

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