Effects of Higher Spousal Earnings on Women’s Social Empowerment in Ghana

Nkechi Owoo, University of Ghana
Monica Lambon-Quayefio
Nicole Onuoha, Boston University

Existing research shows that access to employment and earnings appears to have ambiguous effects on women’s bargaining power and subsequent empowerment. This study explores the effect of higher relative earnings by women on the likelihood of social empowerment and examines to what extent the relationship is moderated by husbands’ education levels. 2008 and 2014 rounds of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey are used for the analyses and a Probit model with interaction effects is employed as a base model. In order to account for potential selectivity bias, a propensity matching technique is also employed. Findings indicate a strong positive relationship between wives’ higher earnings in households and a higher probability of social empowerment. The relationship appears to be moderated, to a significant extent, by partners’ education- the presence of educated husbands widens the social empowerment gap between women who earn more than their husbands and women who do not.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity