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Women's Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa

Oriana Bandiera, Niklas Buehren, Robin Burgess, Markus Goldstein (), Selim Gulesci, Imran Rasul () and Munshi Sulaiman

No 13386, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: Women in developing countries are disempowered: high youth unemployment, early marriage and childbearing interact to limit their investments into human capital and enforce dependence on men. We evaluate a multifaceted policy intervention attempting to jump-start adolescent women's empowerment in Uganda, a context in which 60% of the population are aged below twenty. The intervention aims to relax human capital constraints that adolescent girls face by simultaneously providing them vocational training and information on sex, reproduction and marriage. We find that four years post-intervention, adolescent girls in treated communities are 4.9pp more likely to engage in income generating activities, corresponding to a 48% increase over baseline levels, and an impact almost entirely driven by their greater engagement in self-employment. Teen pregnancy falls by a third, and early entry into marriage/cohabitation also falls rapidly. Strikingly, the share of girls reporting sex against their will drops by close to a third and aspired ages at which to marry and start childbearing move forward. The results highlight the potential of a multifaceted program that provides skills transfers as a viable and cost effective policy intervention to improve the economic and social empowerment of adolescent girls over a four year horizon.

JEL-codes: I25 J13 J24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr and nep-lma
Date: 2018-12
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Working Paper: Women’s Empowerment in Action: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Africa (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Women's empowerment in action: Evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa (2014) Downloads
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