Can Relaxing Constraints on Women Reduce Child Deprivations? Framework, Measurement, and Evidence From India

Lucia Ferrone , Università degli Studi di Firenze
Alberto Posso, The Royal Melburne Institute of Technology (RMIT)
Stephen Smith, The George Washington University

This paper provides a framework for analyzing constraints that apply specifically to women, which theory suggests may have negative impacts on both women and child’s outcomes. We test the impact of women’s constraints on child outcomes using Demographic and Health Survey data from India, including 53,030 mothers and 113,708 children, collected in 2015-16. We classify women’s constraints into four dimensions using survey responses on (i) restrictions on mobility, (ii) decision making, (iii) domestic violence, and (iv) limited information access. We also develop a multidimensional index of women’s constraints. Child outcomes are measured as multidimensional deprivations, which utilize UNICEF’s Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis index. Using an array of econometric strategies, we find that children of women who are subjected to violence, those with limited autonomy in regards to decision making, low mobility, and women with low access to information are more likely to be deprived.

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