Family policy, intrahousehold bargaining, and child health

Liyousew Gebremedhin Borga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study examines the effects of an exogenous change in family policy in Ethiopia on women empowerment and the allocation of resources toward child health. Empowerment is formalized as an unobserved latent variable based on a large set of questions pertaining to women's autonomy and decision-making power. Exploiting the time and regional variation in the implementation of the law, the study finds that early implementation of the reform increases women's access to information, literacy and education levels, and their assertiveness toward family planning and domestic violence. In addition, more decision power in the hands of women is found to have a positive impact on investments in the health and nutrition of children. The findings suggest that factors that do not enter the individual's preferences may affect outcomes for individuals and emphasize the role of intrahousehold heterogeneity. The results are robust to a battery of validity and specification checks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663-684
Number of pages22
JournalReview of Development Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • child health
  • difference-in-differences estimation
  • intrahousehold allocation
  • women empowerment


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