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Gender Equality in the Family Can Reduce the Malaria Burden in Malawi

Matthew J. Klein, Bradford L. Barham and Yuexuan Wu
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Matthew J. Klein: U of Wisconsin-Madison
Bradford L. Barham: U of Wisconsin-Madison
Yuexuan Wu: U of California, Davis

Staff Paper Series from University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics

Abstract: We provide the first empirical evidence that increasing equality between decision makers in a family reduces malaria transmission in Malawi. International organizations and the Malawi government have invested more than one hundred million dollars to reduce the disease burden in the past decade, successfully reducing malaria prevalence by innovating, and scaling up impactful interventions. Additional progress is possible: we show that integrating women’s empowerment programs into malaria control efforts would reduce the disease burden further. We measure power in three different ways: we estimate two separate collective models of the family, one with outside options and one without, and we construct a reduced form index as a proxy. We find that women have less power than men across all three measurement methods. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find that a one standard deviation increase in women’s bargaining power decreases the likelihood that a family member contracts malaria by between 45% and 48%, depending on which measurement we use. We suggest that NGO and government programs addressing malaria incorporate a female empowerment component, like a gendered cash transfer, to better combat this deadly disease.

JEL-codes: D1 I14 I15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-dev, nep-gen and nep-hme
Date: 2019-09
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