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Women’s empowerment in action: evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa

Bandiera, Oriana, Buehren, Niklas, Burgess, Robin, Goldstein, Markus, Gulesci, Selim, Rasul, Imran and Sulaiman, Munshi (2019) Women’s empowerment in action: evidence from a randomized control trial in Africa. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. ISSN 1945-7782 (In Press)

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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 e¤ective policy intervention to improve the economic and social empowerment of adolescent girls over a four year horizon.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/journals/app
Additional Information: © 2019 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
International Growth Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2019 16:09
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 00:17
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/102465

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